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What Are the Symptoms of Melanoma?

The first symptom of melanoma is often a change in a mole, or the appearance of a new mole that has ABCD characteristics. These ABCD rules can help you tell a normal mole from cancer.

  • Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.

  • Border irregularity. The edges of the mole are ragged or irregular.

  • Color. The mole has different colors in it. It may be tan, brown, black, red, or other colors. Or it may have areas that appear to have lost color.

  • Diameter. The mole is bigger than 6 millimeters, about the size of a pencil eraser. But some melanomas can be smaller than 6 millimeters.

symptoms
Normal Mole

symptoms
Melanoma

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away.

  • A mole changes in size, shape, or color. Some melanomas do not fit the ABCD rule described. They fit more of an “E,” which stands for Evolving. Watch for any changes in any moles on your body. If you find what you think is an irregular or changing mole, see a doctor right away.

  • A mole itches or is tender.

  • A mole oozes, bleeds, or becomes crusty.

  • The colors of a mole are uneven or the mole is more than one color.

  • The edges of a mole are blurred or ragged.

  • The two halves of a mole do not look the same.

  • The mole has gotten larger and more raised.

Also, it is important to take note of any new moles that appear on your skin. Become familiar with the way they look so you will know if they are changing.

Remember that these symptoms may be caused by melanoma or by other less serious conditions. It is important to check with a doctor to be sure.

Online Medical Reviewer: Alteri, Rick, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Last Review Date: 1/13/2013
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.