ABCDE’s = Early Warning Signs of Melanoma
- Asymmetry – One-half doesn’t match the other half
- Border – The edges are ragged, blurred or irregular
- Color – Uneven shades of brown or multiple colors are present
- Diameter – The size is larger than 6 mm or the size of a pencil eraser
- Evolving – Change in shape, size, color or sensation
Types of Moles
Research has shown that certain moles have a higher-than-average risk of becoming cancerous.
- CONGENITAL MOLE: When a person is born with a mole, the mole is called a congenital nevus. About one in 100 people is born with one or more moles. These moles vary in size from small to large/giant. The large/giant congenital mole (greater than 20 centimeters) has been shown to carry a higher risk of developing a melanoma.
- ATYPICAL MOLE: Also called dysplastic nevi, these moles are generally larger than average (bigger than a pencil eraser) and irregular in shape. They tend to have uneven color with mixtures of tan, brown, red, and pink. Atypical moles often run in families, but anyone may develop these moles. People with atypical moles have a greater chance of developing melanoma.
- ACQUIRED MOLE: Moles that appear after birth are called acquired moles and generally not cause for concern. People who have more than 50 to100 acquired moles, however, have a greater risk for developing melanoma than those who have fewer moles.
Anyone who has a mole that has a higher-than-average risk for developing melanoma should see a dermatologist regularly, perform skin self-exams, and practice sun protection.
CHECKING MOLES: SKIN SELF-EXAMS
Performing regular skin self-exams helps people recognize the early warning signs of melanoma. Dermatologists recommend that everyone perform regular skin self-exams. When examining your moles, look for the ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection: