The ABCDEs of Melanoma PDF Print E-mail

Warning Signs: The ABCDEs of Melanoma

Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That's why it's so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.

melanoma picture.jpg


If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.

melanoma picture.jpg


The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.

melanoma picture.jpg


Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, blue or some other color.

melanoma picture.jpg


Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch or 6 mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.

melanoma picture.jpg


Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — points to danger.

Prompt action is your best protection. The pictures below show atypical normal moles and melanomas.

Benign Malignant
Symmetrical mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Asymmetrical
Borders are even mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Borders are uneven
One shade mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Two or more shades
Smaller than 1/4 inch mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Larger than 1/4

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