The five signs of skin cancer made simple

The five signs of skin cancer is a guide referred to as the A-B-C-D-E guide.

If you are one who has lots of freckles, dark spots, suspicious Moles or suspected precancerous lesions that do not go away, here’s some help that everyone should know.

Just knowing this can help anyone to spot skin cancer in the early stages when it is most highly curable.

The photos below show what different types of skin cancer look like as a suspicious mole, freckle or precancerous lesion is changing and developing.

You can be the first to detect skin cancer. When you see these suspicious changes then you know it's time to see your dermatologist or health professional.

The Five Signs of Skin Cancer A-B-C-D-E

A - is for Asymmetry

Draw an imaginary line down the middle. If both sides do not match equally, then it would be suspicious. Normal lesions you've had for a long time would have equal halves.

Have a dermatologist check it out, the sooner, the better!

B - is for Border

Any skin lesion, for instance a freckle or mole that kind of fades and blends into the normal tissue may be suspicious. A normal spot, freckle, etc. would have a clear cut defined border.

See you dermatologist if the border is not defined clearly.

C - is for Color

Whenever you see a change in color in any skin lesion, lump, mole, freckle is cause for suspicion.

Keep in mind that all of the illustrated pictures of skin lesions on the left are just one representation of what is being described.

Chances are that what you see on your skin may not be exactly as these pictures show.

See a change in color or varied hues? See Your Dermatologist!

D - is for Diameter

A common household item to measure diameter would be a pencil eraser or you could use a 12" ruler. Anything bigger than that eraser or 1/4" on your ruler would be suspicious.

Again see your dermatologist and have it looked at!

E - is for Evolving

If you normally have freckles or moles and you start to see one changing, it may well be suspect. It could be any of the above changes or it could be elevating or even just itching.

It's time to do something whenever you see ANY changes! See your dermatologist!

Early detection can save you a lot of future problems. As always, I encourage you to use Sense in the Sun and do your best to embark on a Healthy Lifestyle.

The above guide should be taken as a general guide. Skin cancers may develop and not exactly fit into any of these five signs of skin cancer.

Since 1990 I’ve been free from stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma. I had never heard of the five signs of skin cancer at that time, and the truth is that even if I was aware of these signs, I would not have recognized my case as skin cancer.

I had a very small lump appear spontaneously, on my neck. It was round, slightly elevated (at first) and it was my normal skin color.

I went to a primary care doctor, not a dermatologist, and he didn’t recognize it as any type of cancer.

Later it grew and I was diagnosed by another doctor as having skin cancer.

You can read more about this in my story.

I mention this to make the point clear that when anything unusual appears on your skin, you should see a specialist.

If the specialist doesn’t seem too concerned, then a closer look with a second opinion would not be a bad idea.

My sister had a spot on her face and went to a dermatologist. He didn’t seem too concerned about it at first, so she told the doctor about me and my battle with skin cancer.

He then did take a closer look and determined it to be precancerous basal cell and removed it.

So don’t just be looking for these five signs of skin cancer as they appear above. Be aware of any suspicious moles, lesions, dark spots on skin, even when they do not exactly fit what you see pictured.

When mine occured, there were no changes in color until after it spread inside my mouth. That was the first time I saw white spots on lumps deep within, on the roof of my mouth.

Any changes on your skin are worth having checked, no matter how harmless it seems.

Routine Self Skin Exams would be helpful and if you're over the age of 40-50 have a yearly check with a specialist.

Links related to Five Signs of Skin Cancer
Stages of Skin Cancer
Actinic Keratosis
Solar Keratosis
Mole Cancers
Cancerous Moles

Go from Five Signs of Skin Cancer to Warning Signs
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Self Skin Exams
Home Remedy Mole Removal

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Amelanotic Melanoma
Updated July 1, 2015


Hi! My name is Nick and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the word "Melanoma"....." --by Nick

Read more of Nick's Story

Scared to Death!!! - by Shelly

Our Cancer Stories are so similar, mine and Gary's! - by Valerie  

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Bottom Line
The Weather Channel has done well posting this information and photos to help you spot skin cancer, including melanoma.
It can be hard to spot, even for a professional.
The bottom line is to get an expert's opinion about any suspicious mole or lesion on your skin. If necessary, get a second opinion  and/or request a biopsy. it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t put your very life at risk!