Pay More Attention to the Darkness of Your Moles

Do you know your ABCDE’s of melanoma? Here’s a quick refresher and easy mnemonic to help you remember how to detect warning signs of melanoma:

  • A is for Asymmetry: look for moles where the shape of one half is different from the other.
  • B is for Border: look for moles with irregular, scalloped, or jagged borders.
  • C is for Color: look for moles with multiple colors or variation in color-especially shades of black, brown, blue, red, or white.
  • D is for Diameter or Dark: melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser) but they can be smaller too. A mole that is much darker than any surrounding mole is of concern
  • E is for Evolution/Evolving: moles that are undergoing ANY kind of change, especially as outlined above, need to be evaluated by a medical professional.

According to a special commentary on the clinical diagnosis of melanoma by Stuart M. Goldsmith MD, he believes that we should take a different approach to the letter D here - and we should think of it as dark.

I fully agree with this as I think that not only is it easier for patients to remember, but it’s very true - you can have a very small black spot, but even though it has a small diameter, it could be melanoma. In fact, when we remove moles, our first indicator is usually to take out the darkest part on a patient. If you change your thought process around the ABCDE’s to also pay attention to how dark your mole or spot is, it will be easier to evaluate yourself.

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