The ABCD's of Moles & Melanomas

It's important to check your skin for suspicious moles once a month and report anything unusual to your health care professional. When you inspect moles, pay special attention to their sizes, shapes, edges, and color. A handy way to remember these features is to think of the A, B, C, and D rules of skin cancer:

  • Asymmetry: Most moles are symmetrical and round. Be on the lookout for those that change shape and become asymmetrical.
  • Border: Most moles have even borders. Watch for moles that are uneven and irregular around the edges.
  • Color: It is normal for moles to be a uniform brown color. Moles that are different shades of brown or black may be a skin cancer and should be evaluated.
  • Diameter: Most moles are small -- about 6 mm or smaller in diameter. If a mole becomes larger than the tip of a pencil eraser, you should check with your dermatologist.
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