The ABCDEs of melanoma detection

Dr. Hope Web ImageBy Dr. Hope Mitchell, FLTN Columnist-

Brown spots and moles on the skin usually are harmless—but not always. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults ages 25-29 and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old. It kills an estimated 8,790 people in the U.S. annually. It can develop from an existing mole or “de novo”—that is suddenly, where you have never seen a mole. It is very important to get to know your skin and to recognize any changes in your moles. Look for the ABCDE signs of MELANOMA:

  • A—Asymmetry: one half unlike the other half of the mole
  • B—Border: irregular, scalloped, indented or poorly defined border
  • C—Color: shades of tan and brown, black or sometimes white, red or blue
  • D—Diameter: typically larger than a pencil eraser head but can be smaller when first detected
  • E—Evolving: any change in size, shape, color, or elevation to a new symptom such as bleeding, non-healing, itching or crusting

Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. If you see one or more of these changes in your moles or if your mole is new and looks worrisome, promptly make an appointment with a dermatologist. Most insurance companies will cover your recommended annual skin cancer exam.

Call Mitchell Dermatology at 419.872.HOPE (4673) to schedule your appointment for a customized peel treatment plan, and like our office on Facebook. Visit the website at, or email us at