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Skin Cancer Awareness Month: ABCDEs Of Melanoma | Center For Surgical Dermatology

Learning the ABCDEs of Melanoma for Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month? Initiated by The Skin Cancer Foundation, Skin Cancer Awareness Month aims to educate more people about the dangers of skin cancer, how to identify it, and what you can do to reduce your risk

With more people diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States each year than all other cancers combined, it is crucial to build awareness around this incredibly common (and dangerous) skin disease. 

Though basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma top the list of the most common skin cancers diagnosed in the U.S., melanoma—the third most commonly diagnosed skin cancer—is by far the most dangerous. This is because melanoma is significantly more aggressive and has a higher chance of spreading into the surrounding tissue and other parts of the body. 

This is why we’re sharing the ABCDE rule of melanoma. So you can better understand how to identify melanoma on your skin and seek out treatment if necessary. 


What are the ABCDEs of Melanoma? 

In short, the ABCDE rule of melanoma is a guide to help you know what to look for when examining your skin for signs of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. 

Many dermatology providers, as well as The Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology, reference this guide when looking over the skin for warning signs of skin cancer

The ABCDE rule aims to help individuals remember what to look for by thinking about the warning signs alphabetically. The “ABCDE” of melanoma stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. These features describe some of the changes seen in moles or skin lesions when they transform to a pre-cancer or skin cancer.


The ABCDE Rule of Melanoma 

To help you get a better understanding of this commonly used guide, here is a more in depth explanation of what each letter stands for in the ABCDE rule of melanoma skin cancer. 

A is for Asymmetry — If you were to draw a line down the middle of a mole, the two halves should appear very similarly to each other. This is because normal moles are symmetrical. However, a suspicious mole will often look asymmetrical, with the two halves being significantly different. 

B is for Border — Normal moles typically have a crisp, clearly-defined border. A compromised mole, such as one that has turned into skin cancer, may have a border that is irregular, scalloped, blurred, or hard to define. 

C is for Color — If you look at the moles on your skin, you’ll find that most are fairly consistent in color. Melanomas, however, often contain several different shades of tan, black, brown, red, or blue and are not one color throughout. 

D is for Diameter — Generally, moles do not become larger than 6mm in size, which is roughly the size of a pencil eraser. If you find a mole on your body that is bigger than this, it warrants further evaluation by a dermatologist or trained provider.

E is for Evolving — In most cases, moles do not change or shift over our lifetime. If you find a new mole, or a mole that has changed significantly in shape, size, or color, be sure to visit a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible for a professional skin cancer screening, as this is a common warning sign of melanoma. 


Other Melanoma Warning Signs 

In addition to the warning signs mentioned above, here are some additional melanoma signs and symptoms to be aware of when examining your skin every month for skin cancer

  • A sore that won’t heal, or that heals and comes back.
  • Redness, swelling, or inflammation around a mole or spot. 
  • Change in sensation in or around a mole, such as itching, tenderness, or pain.
  • Changes to the surface of a mole or spot, such as scaling, oozing, or bleeding.


Schedule Your Skin Cancer Screening in Westerville, Ohio 

When it comes to detecting and treating melanoma and other skin cancers, the board-certified dermatologists at the Center of Surgical Dermatology are here for you. 

We are highly trained and experienced in performing thorough skin cancer screenings to help identify, diagnose, and treat skin cancer in an effective and efficient manner. Contact us today to schedule your skin cancer screening in Westerville. 


Skin Cancer Treatment at the Center for Surgical Dermatology 

Center of Surgical Dermatology is the largest medical and surgical skin treatment and wellness facility in Central Ohio. Since 2007, our board-certified dermatologists, fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons, and caring professional staff have provided patients with effective skin cancer treatments they can trust in an environment second to none. Learn more about our state-of-the-art Dermatology Center before booking your appointment today.

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