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The ABCDEs of Melanoma: Your Skin Cancer Detection Guide

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. resulting in more than 3.5 million new cases a year, but also the most preventable. Learn the ABCDE rule to remember the symptoms of melanoma.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States resulting in more than 3.5 million new cases a year, but it’s also the most preventable. A sudden or continuous change in the appearance of a mole is a sign that you should see your doctor. The ABCDE rule can help you remember the symptoms of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry- One half is different than the other half
  • Border Irregularity- The edges are notched, uneven, or blurred
  • Color- The color is uneven. Shades of brown, tan, and black are present
  • Diameter- Diameter is greater than 6 millimeters
  • Evolving- Any change in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait can point to danger


Additionally, there are several other warning signs that indicate there could be a potential problem. They include:

  • The appearance of a new bump or nodule
  • Color spreads into surrounding skin
  • Redness or swelling beyond the mole
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Itching
  • Bleeding


If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor right away. Self-exams can help you identify potential skin cancers early, when they can almost always be completely cured. Regular visits to your dermatologist, self-checks, and enrolling in an early detection surveillance program to monitor existing and new moles and lesions are essential in keeping you and your skin healthy all year long.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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