Check Your Moles Using the ABCDE Method

Mar 08, 2023
Early detection is key to effective skin cancer treatment. One of the best ways to protect your skin is to check your moles at home using the ABCDE method. Learn how to use it and what to do if you notice skin changes.

Nearly everyone has at least one mole. These darkly pigmented skin growths are usually harmless, but some can be cancerous. Unfortunately, telling the difference isn’t always easy.

Gangaram Ragi, MD, and our providers at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center are ready to help. We offer comprehensive skin cancer care with state-of-the-art detection technology at our offices in Teaneck and Saddle River, New Jersey.

Early detection is a big key to successful treatment, and one of the best ways to detect skin cancer is to check your moles at home. To check your skin, we recommend using the ABCDE method, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolution.

In this blog, we explain how to use the ABCDE method, and we explain what you should do if you have a suspicious mole.

Using the ABCDE method

The ABCDE method is a simple and effective way to check your moles for potential signs of skin cancer. Here’s how to do it:

A: Asymmetry

Look for moles that are uneven in shape or size. Normal moles are usually symmetrical, so if half of the mole doesn’t match the other half, it could be a sign of cancer.

B: Border

Check for moles with irregular or scalloped borders. Normal moles typically have smooth, even borders, but moles with uneven borders could be cancerous.

C: Color

Normal moles are usually one uniform color. However, a cancerous mole can have several shades of the same color or multiple colors, including brown, tan, or black, or even red, blue, or white.

D: Diameter

Moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm) are a potential warning sign of cancer. While small moles are usually benign, larger moles should be monitored closely.

E: Evolution

Check for changes in the appearance of your moles over time. Moles that change in shape, size, color, or texture are more likely to be cancerous.

When checking your moles with the ABCDE method, look at them closely and carefully. Use a mirror to check hard-to-see areas, and consider taking photos of your moles to help keep track of any changes over time.

Remember that not all skin cancers look like moles. Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma may look more like scaly patches or small, fleshy bumps. Melanomas may not resemble traditional moles at all.

What to do if you have a suspicious mole

It's important to be aware of all changes to your skin, regardless of whether they look like a mole or not. If you notice anything new, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist right away.

Dr. Ragi and our team at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center have treated thousands of cases of skin cancer, and we have the experience to ensure you get the care you need. We specialize in comprehensive skin exams and skin biopsies to diagnose precancer and cancer cases.

The earlier skin cancer and precancer cases are diagnosed, the more effective treatment is, and we work closely with you to develop the best treatment plan for your needs. We offer a range of skin cancer treatments, from pre-cancer treatments to advanced Mohs surgery.

If you have a family history of skin cancer or a personal history of excessive sun exposure, you may be at an increased risk for skin cancer. In these cases, it’s especially important to check your moles and get professional skin exams regularly.

Skin cancer is common, but taking a proactive approach can help you protect your skin and overall health. To find out more about preventing and treating skin cancer, call 201-836-9696 or book an appointment online with Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center today.