Mohs Surgery & Dermatology Center
Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the shape, color, size, or feel of an existing mole. Melanoma may also appear as a new colored area on the skin.
The "ABCDE" rule describes the features of early melanoma:
Melanomas can vary greatly in how they look. Many show all of the ABCDE features. However, some may show only one or two of the ABCDE features.1 2 3
1. An uneven (asymmetric) melanoma with an irregular but distinct border. The melanoma is more than 20 millimeters wide (about the size of a postage stamp).
2. A blue-black melanoma that has irregular and scalloped borders. It has arisen from a dysplastic nevus (the pink-tan region at the upper left). The melanoma is about 12 millimeters wide (nearly 1/2 inch).
3. A melanoma with three parts—a dark brown or black area on the left, a red bump on the right, and an area that is lighter than the skin at the top. The melanoma is about 15 millimeters wide, or about as wide as a tube of lip balm.
Check with your doctor if you notice any of the following changes
Last updated March 27, 2013.
Reference: National Cancer Institute