MRF's ABCDEs of Melanoma

Learn the basic guidelines to catching melanoma early.


ABCDEs of Melanoma These basic guidelines are used by many dermatologists to help identify melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Catching melanoma early could mean the difference between life and a life-threatening cancer. Knowing what to look for and performing regular self-skin exams may help you become more aware of unusual spots that should be brought to the attention of a dermatologist. If you notice an unusual spot or a spot that has one or more of these characteristics, make an appointment with a dermatologist – preferably one who has experience with melanoma.

A – Asymmetrical Shape

Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

B – Border

Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

C – Color

The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D – Diameter

Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser).

E – Evolution (or Change)


The evolution of your mole(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to diagnosing a melanoma . Knowing what is normal for YOU could save your life.

*It is important to note that not all melanomas fall within these parameters.

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