The ABCs of Skin Cancer

Moles, also known as Nevi, are a standard form of skin growths that often appear as small, dark spots. They are extremely common and more often than not, harmless. However, they can become cancerous, and one must know what characteristics are important. In this article, we are going to break down the ABC’s of skin cancer and teach individuals how to identify a potentially dangerous mole. Each letter signifies an aspect of a mole that requires extra attention due to its concerning nature. This method was created, endorsed, and still used to this day by dermatologists all over the world. It’s as easy as ABCDE! 

A is for Asymmetry:

A mole that is not round or oval in shape. One half of the mole does not match the other half in shape, size, color, or thickness. 

B is for Border:

The borders of the mole are irregular or jagged and not well defined. 

C is for Color:

The coloring of the mole is not uniform, and several different shades of red, brown, or black appear. 

D is for Diameter:

A mole with a diameter greater than 6mm, which is roughly the size of a pencil eraser.

E is for Evolution:

A mole that is changing rapidly in size, color, shape, or thickness. 

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide and can often go undiagnosed. Over two million cases of non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed every year, and over 230,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed every year as well. These statistics can be alarming, but most skin cancers can be avoided by proper sun care and melanoma has a 99% survival rate when detected early on! Knowing how to identify suspicious growths or lesions on your body can truly be lifesaving.

In the case of a new, suspicious, or recently changed mole, you should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist right away. Galen Dermatology is currently accepting new patients and our number one goal is to help you achieve and maintain the healthiest skin possible! Call our office today at 423-954-9017 to schedule your next skin exam with one of our board-certified dermatologists!