A is for ABCDE

October 28, 2022

ABCDE is the checklist of changes indicating a possible malignant lesion:
A = Asymmetry
B = Border irregularity
C = Colour variation
D = Diameter increase
E = Evolution (the change over time)

The ABCDE checklist is a helpful tool to recognize potential signs of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. It provides a framework to assess moles or skin lesions for specific characteristics that may indicate the presence of melanoma. Here’s what each letter represents:

A – Asymmetry: Melanomas are often asymmetrical, meaning one half of the mole or lesion does not match the other half in terms of shape or appearance.

B – Border irregularity: Look for moles or spots with borders that are irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined. Melanomas often have edges that are not smooth or uniform.

C – Color variation: Pay attention to moles or spots with uneven or multiple colors. Melanomas can exhibit shades of brown, black, red, blue, or white within the same lesion.

D – Diameter: Take note of moles or spots that have a larger diameter than the size of a pencil eraser (6 mm or 1/4 inch), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller. However, it’s important to remember that not all melanomas exceed this size.

E – Evolving or changing: Monitor moles or spots that are evolving or changing over time. This includes changes in shape, size, color, or elevation. New growth, itching, bleeding, or crusting can also be signs of concern.

The ABCDE checklist is a helpful guideline for identifying potential warning signs of melanoma, but it’s important to note that not all melanomas follow these specific criteria. Some melanomas may exhibit atypical features or lack certain characteristics described in the checklist. Additionally, other non-melanoma skin conditions can also present with similar features. Therefore, if you have any concerns about your skin, it’s recommended to seek professional medical evaluation from a dermatologist or healthcare provider who can conduct a thorough examination and provide an accurate diagnosis.


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