Asymmetrical (the two sides do not match)
Borders are even
Borders are uneven
Two or more shades
Smaller than 1/4 inch
Larger than 1/4 inch
ABCD's of Moles & Melanoma
Most people have a number of brownish spots on their skin - freckles, birthmarks, moles. Almost all such spots are normal, but some may be skin cancers. Key warning signs of melanoma are shown below. Be alert to irregularities in shape, edges, colour, and size. The ABCD's of melanoma are as follows: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Colour variability, and Diameter larger than a pencil eraser.
Most early melanomas are asymmetrical: a line through the middle would not create matching halves. Common moles are round and symmetrical.
The borders of early melanomas are often uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges. Common moles have smoother, more even borders.
Common moles usually are a single shade of brown. Varied shades of brown, tan, or black are often the first sign of melanoma. As melanomas progress, the colours red, white and blue may appear.
Early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles - generally to at least the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm, or 1/4 inch, in diameter).
If you detect any of these warning signs, see a physician promptly.
to checking out the ABCDs, you should watch for change.
The mole suddenly or continuously gets larger.
A wide variety of colours or colour combinations appear. Colour might spread from the edge into the surrounding tissue.
A mole that was flat or slightly elevated increases in height rapidly.
The skin around a mole becomes red or develops coloured blemishes or swellings.
A smooth mole develops scaliness, erosion, oozing. Crusting, ulceration, or bleeding are signs of more advanced disease.
Itching is the most common early symptom, and there may also be feelings of tenderness or pain. Nonetheless, remember that skin cancers are usually painless.
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