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Learning your ABCs the first time helped you read. Now, they could save your life. That’s because these ABCs can alert you to changes in moles that could signal melanoma — the most serious type of skin cancer.
“The first signs of melanoma are usually a change to an existing mole or a new skin growth,” Melanie Dixon, M.D., a dermatologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minnesota, says. “They’re usually found on skin that has seen a lot of sun.”
Your best chance of beating melanoma is to catch it early. If you notice any of these changes, schedule an appointment with your provider:
- Asymmetrical shape: One half is unlike the other half.
- Border: Notched, irregular or scalloped borders.
- Color: Multiple colors, changes in color or uneven color.
- Diameter: Larger than 1/4 inch.
- Evolving: Change in size, shape, color or height, or new signs and symptoms, such as itchiness or bleeding.
Check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s slideshow of the ABCDEs of moles to become familiar with atypical moles.