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The “ABCD rule” to detect malignant melanoma

Warning Signs

August 2007

Health Science Center experts encourage the use of the "ABCD rule" to detect malignant melanoma. If you notice any of the following symptoms, alert your physician immediately.

A is for ASYMMETRY: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.

B is for BORDER: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.

C is for COLOR: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of red, white or blue.

D is for DIAMETER: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing larger.

Mole images courtesy of the National Cancer Institute.

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Updated 12/11/14