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The ABCDEs of Melanoma

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with millions of cases diagnosed each year. It’s also one of the most preventable cancers and highly treatable when found early. 

Melanoma is a type of cancer that begins in the melanocytes. These are cells that make the pigment melanin. Melanomas often start in moles on the skin. Melanoma is often called the “most serious skin cancer” because it can spread from the skin to other parts of the body.

To help people find a possible melanoma on their skin, dermatologists created the ABCDEs of melanoma

A: Asymmetry. One half of the spot is unlike the other half.

B: Border. The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

C: Color. The spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown or black, or areas of white, red, or blue.

D: Diameter. While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, when diagnosed, they can be smaller.

E: Evolving. The spot looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

If you find a spot on your skin that has any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist today. Thorek Memorial Chicago Hospital has many board-certified dermatologists on staff. Call our hospital at (773) 271-9040 to schedule an appointment today.