Skin cancers count for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers, and amongst these melanoma is the most dangerous type. The good news is that most types of skin cancer can be successfully treated if detected early[i]. If you aren’t yet familiar with the skin cancer signs of ABCDE, let’s get to know them now.
The ABCDEs of melanoma and other skin cancers
- Asymmetry can be an indicator of melanoma or other malignant skin cancer, as most benign spots tend to be consistently shaped. If the spot is elongated or irregular in its shape or begins to look more asymmetrical over time, watch the spot closely and seek advice.
- Borders that are uneven, scalloped or raised can be another warning flag. Book a specialist appointment if the edge of a spot or mole looks blurred or irregular in any way, including if there is a white ring around the spot.
- Colour is a natural element of many moles and spots, but if one is displaying multiple colours at once this can sometimes be a sign of melanoma. Look out for different shades of black, brown and tan, and even red, white or blue in some cases.
- Diameter is yet one more possible sign of melanoma, with many displaying as over 6mm in diameter as they develop. Malignant skin cancers can also start smaller than this size though, so keep an eye out for any of the symptoms listed and take note if spots are growing.
- Evolving completes the ABCDE of skin cancer and includes any spots that are changing in colour, size, shape, elevation or sensation over time. If a mole or spot begins to itch, crust or bleed, this could be a sign that something isn’t quite right.
If you do happen to notice any of these symptoms with a self check or are just not sure, it’s a good idea to get to your skin specialist doctor quick smart. They can examine and take a sample for biopsy if they think it needs further examination, and set your mind at ease if the spot is benign. Remember to look out for these skin cancer symptoms on your loved ones too, and encourage them to get checked every year.
With awareness of the ABCDE acronym and by regularly checking for skin cancer on our bodies, we’ll be able to address potential problems at the earliest possible stage.