What does melanoma look like?
Is it ever a good idea to go looking for trouble?
Yes—when you're searching for melanoma. That's the deadliest form of skin cancer. But when you find it early, it's highly treatable.
So make a mole check a regular part of your skin care routine.
Learn the ABCDEs of melanoma
What makes a mole suspicious? The first five letters of the alphabet can help you remember what to look for:
A is for asymmetry. One half of a mole doesn't match the other half.
B is for border irregularity. The mole's edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
C is for color that varies. A single mole may have shades of tan, brown or black—or sometimes white, red or blue.
D is for diameter. The mole is wider than a pencil eraser.
E is for evolving. The mole may look different from others—or change size, shape or color over time.
Tell your doctor right away if you spot any one of these red flags on your skin.
There may be other signs as well. So let your doctor know if a mole looks or feels unusual in any way.
Melanoma can show up anywhere on your body. But in men, it's most common on the torso, head and neck. In women, it often appears on the arms and legs.
Find a dermatologist
If you have a suspicious mole, a dermatologist can tell you if it might be skin cancer—and help you get treatment. Find an Adventist Health dermatologist near you.See related topics >