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The ABCDEs of Melanoma

ABCDEs of Melanoma

Sasha Kuznetsov, BSN | Sycamore Health Center | 05/19/2015

The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that in 2015 more than 70,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma is the most common cancer in young adults ages 25-29. A person doubles their risk for getting melanoma if they have had five or more sunburns in their lifetime. Every 57 minutes, someone dies from melanoma. One of the first indicators of melanoma is abnormal moles or brown spots on your skin.

Use the ABCDEs of Melanoma to monitor your moles or brown spots and detect warning signs early!


  1. Asymmetry: If a mole or brown spot is not symmetrical, it could be indicative of melanoma. A benign (non-cancerous) mole is equal in size.
    • Draw a line across your mole: if the sides are uneven, it means it is asymmetrical!
  2. Border: A mole’s edges should be smooth and even. Moles that might be cancerous have uneven, notched edges.
  3. Color: Does your mole look splotchy or have different colors? This is a sign of melanoma. Benign moles are one color.
    • Look out for moles that are red, white, or blue.
  4. Diameter: Moles should not grow in size and should be small. Although moles that might lead to melanoma could be smaller than that, watch for moles that seem to be growing.
    • Moles shouldn’t be larger than ¼ of an inch or 6mm.
  5. Evolving: If any of your moles change in any way, including size, shape, or color, you need to see your primary care provider.
    • Moles should not change over time.

Have a mole that is changing in color or size? Are you concerned about a spot on your skin? Early detection of melanoma is key. It’s usually treatable, if caught early. Make an appointment with the Nurse Practitioners at Sycamore Health Center to look at your moles and answer any questions you might have. Call 319-337-9066.

For more information on melanoma and what to look for, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation

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A faculty practice unit under College of Nursing Health Care, the Sycamore Health Center is a primary care and mental health services clinic operated entirely by nurse practitioners. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 319-337-9066, email or visit

Posted On: 
May 19th, 2015