Take Advantage of our May Specials!
(786) 607-4544

ABCDEs of Melanoma

Understanding the ABCDEs of Melanoma: A Patient’s Guide

Welcome to Biscayne Dermatology’s patient education page dedicated to understanding melanoma, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer. Early detection is crucial in the effective treatment of melanoma. One of the easiest ways to remember the warning signs of melanoma is through the ABCDE rule. This guide will help you identify potential melanomas early on, leading to better outcomes.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color. While it’s less common than other types of skin cancers, melanoma is more dangerous because it’s more likely to spread to other parts of the body if not caught early.

The ABCDE rule is a simple way to remember the major symptoms of melanoma. When checking your skin, look for these signs:

A – Asymmetry: One half of the mole doesn’t match the other half.

B – Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.

C – Color: The color is not the same throughout and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.

D – Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.

E – Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

  • Examine your skin once a month in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror.
  • Use a hand mirror to look at hard-to-see areas.
  • Look at all areas, including your palms and soles, scalp, ears, nails, and back.
  • Keep track of your moles, and note any changes over time.

If you notice any moles or skin lesions that exhibit these characteristics, or if they change, itch, or bleed, make an appointment with a dermatologist or your healthcare provider. Early detection is key in treating melanoma effectively.

  • Avoid direct sunlight during midday.
  • Wear sunscreen year-round with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as hats and long sleeves, when outdoors.
  • Avoid tanning beds.

Remember, while this guide is a useful tool, it’s not a substitute for professional medical advice. Regular check-ups with a dermatologist and self-examinations are crucial in maintaining your skin health and catching melanoma early.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Devorah Shagalov at her office in Miami for a full body skin exam to have your moles examined.  During your consultation Dr. Shagalov will conduct a comprehensive skin exam using a dermatoscope to closely evaluate your moles for any concerning features.  Dr. Shagalov will determine if any moles require close monitoring and may recommend a biopsy if anything is concerning. Dr. Shagalov will also determine the appropriate frequency of skin exams.

Dr. Devorah Shagalov is a board-certified dermatologist and a dual board-certified Mohs surgeon and Cosmetic Dermatologist. Contact her at her Miami office to schedule a consultation to learn more about how she can help you achieve and maintain a beautiful and healthy skin.

Patient resources:

At a Glance

Dr. Devorah Shagalov

  • Double Board-Certified Dermatologist
  • Fellowship-Trained Mohs Micrographic Surgeon
  • Recipient of numerous dermatology awards
  • Learn more

Book Appointment