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Ask Dr. Schultz | Skin Care Guides | The Rules for Detecting Precancerous Growths

The Rules for Detecting Precancerous Growths

The ABCDE Rule

A: Asymmetry—The two halves of your mole should match; if they don't, the mole may be precancerous.

B: Border—A precancerous mole often has uneven borders with scalloped or notched sides.

C: Color—Precancerous moles may be found in a variety of colors, such as shades of brown, tan and/or black. A melanoma can be red, blue, or other colors.

D: Diameter—A mole that is larger than the size of a pencil eraser is more likely to be precancerous, or it may be an early melanoma.

E: Evolving—Look for changes in the mole's shape, size, or color, as well as new symptoms such as itching or bleeding. These signs may indicate a potential precancerous mole.

See a Dermatologist

If you find a mole with any of the above traits, be sure to visit your dermatologist. If you do not have dermatologist, you can find a board-certified one in your area by using the Finder tool on Never try and remove moles yourself.

Melanoma is easily cured when detected early, so follow the ABCDE Rules above.

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