Melanoma Program

Prevention Guidelines

Know the ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection
The Melanoma Program medical experts recommend that you examine your skin monthly for signs of cancerous moles. If you notice any of the following warning signs, see your doctor, or call the Melanoma Program at 1-800-973-MOLE to speak to our dedicated melanoma nurse navigator.
Benign Malignant Information

A symmetrical shape. Benign (harmless) moles are usually round and symmetrical. Melanomas are asymmetrical with two sides that are uneven or don't match.

Irregular Border. Melanomas have irregular, notched or scalloped borders.

Mixed Color. Benign moles are usually evenly brown or tan. Melanomas are often multi-colored with brown, black, red, white, or blue mixed together.

Large Diameter. Melanomas are usually 1/4 inch in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser) or larger.

E is for evolution. Melanomas may change in appearance over time and may also become irritated (look for itching or bleeding).

Be aware that not all moles with these characteristics are melanomas. Likewise, some melanomas do not have any of these characteristics, and may be pink or white or not have any brown color at all. The most important warning sign for a melanoma is a change in the size, shape or color of a spot on your skin, or a new spot.