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What are the ABCDE of Skin Cancer?

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Dr. Sunaina Hameed, Dermatologist, Skin Health Bangalore talks about a simple formula that serves as a warning sign of skin cancer.

Dermatologists have come up with an acronym ABCDE, which stands for five most common signs of skin cancer.

Most of us have moles, dark spots or skin tags, which are pretty harmless. But any changes in the appearance of their colouration or growth should not be taken lightly. Skin lesions or moles that bleed, itch or showing no signs of healing should regularly be monitored. These are indicative of both melanoma and non-melanoma type of skin cancer.

“If you are at a higher risk of suffering from skin cancer, doing regular self-examination is recommended. It will help in identifying any abnormal growths on the skin. Remember, early detection of diseases guarantees a better treatment outcome.”

Let us further elaborate on the acronym ABCDE:

  • A for asymmetrical: Look for asymmetrical moles or spots. Cancerous moles do not have symmetry. It should be considered as a warning sign of skin cancer.
  • B for border: A defined border is a mark of a non-cancerous mole. If a mole starts becoming uneven, it should be monitored closely for further evaluation.
  • C for colour: Patchy or shades of brown and black is considered a warning sign of a malignant mole or skin tag. Noncancerous moles are mostly a single shade of brown.
  • D for diameter: More than 6 mm diameter of a patch on your skin calls for red alert. Moles are smaller in size.
  • E for evolving: Cancerous moles may start small, but grow in size over a period. Any change in size, colour, elevation is a bad sign. If the moles start itching, bleeding, tingling or crusting it should not be ignored.

Not all skin changes mean that you have skin cancer. This is where your dermatologist comes in to picture. A proper skin examination will be able to confirm the cause.

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