Skin Cancer Home > The ABCDE Signs of Skin Cancer: "A" Is for Asymmetry
Start With "A" for AsymmetryBy definition, asymmetry is something that is not symmetrical, when two halves of something don't match or are unequal. In the early stages, most melanomas are asymmetrical. If you drew a line through the middle of a melanoma mole, it would not create matching halves. "Normal" moles are usually round and symmetrical.
How Do I Look for These Moles?Although your healthcare provider can check your skin, it's important to do a thorough self-check once a month. Using a mirror, examine your skin thoroughly, carefully going over the entire surface of the skin. By doing this on a monthly basis, you can become familiar with where your moles are, and it will become easier to notice if they are changing.
Other Causes of ConcernBecause not all forms of skin cancer follow the rules of identification, it's important to know some other red-flag signs. Some of these include:
- Redness or a new swelling beyond the border of a mole
- If a mole changes in sensation, such as if it starts to feel itchy, tender, or painful
- A spot that forms a scab, rescabs, and won't heal
- A pearly or waxy growth
- Spreading of pigment from the border of a spot to surrounding skin
- Changes in the surface of a mole, such as oozing, bleeding, or scaliness
- A scaly skin thickening that develops in a small area (face, neck, or hands)
- Any sore, blister, pimple, or other blemish that does not show signs of healing within two to three weeks.