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ABCDEs of Skin Cancer

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Recognizing the Warning Signs

Doing monthly skin checkups is the best way to find new marks or skin changes. During your skin checkups, be sure to follow the ABCDEs of skin cancer. Note any new growths, or if any of your growths bleed, itch, look different, or are painful.

Asymmetry: the sides of the mole or growth don’t match
Border: the edges are ragged, notched, or blurred
Color: the color within the mole or growth varies
Diameter: the mole or growth is larger than 6 mm (size of a pencil eraser)
Evolving: the size, shape, or color of the mole or growth is changing

In addition to the ABCDEs, other warning signs of skin cancer include:

  • A spot or mole that looks different from all other marks on your skin
  • Changes in how an area feels, such as itching, tenderness, or pain
  • Changes in the skin's surface, such as oozing, bleeding, or scaliness
  • A sore that does not heal
  • New swelling or redness beyond the border of a mole
A skin doctor, or dermatologist, can accurately diagnosis a concern with your skin and provide treatment that could save your life. To find a dermatologist near you, visit

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