The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer

ER - Madison

15 min Average

The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer

Once a month, do an exam of your own skin, moles and blemishes. Checking once a month will make it easier to see if a spot has undergone a change. Even if you have no specific concerns, visit your primary care doctor or dermatologist annually for a skin check.

Not all skin cancers present the same symptoms. 

Some Common Signs

  • Asymmetry – One side of the lesion is not like the other side.
  • Border – The border of the lesion is irregular or poorly defined.
  • Color – There is no certain color that is worse than another. However, if one lesion has multiple colors (shades of tan, brown, black), this may be a reason for concern.
  • Diameter – If the diameter of a lesion is more than 6 mm (or larger than a pencil eraser), this may be a worrisome lesion.
  • Evolving – If you have one mole that looks different from the rest, or appears to have changed, have a doctor look at it.

Another common symptom is a spot that is non-healing, bleeding, itching or crusting.

Skin cancer has a very high survival rate, especially when detected early. If you have a lesion you're concerned about, call your doctor and have it examined.