Skin Cancer Home > Melanoma Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of melanoma include a change in the shape, feel, color, or size of an existing mole. An easy way to remember this is to think of the acronym "ABCD": asymmetry, border, color, and diameter. Keep in mind that changes in moles or in the appearance of the skin are not definite melanoma symptoms. However, you should still report any changes to your doctor.

Melanoma Signs and Symptoms: An Overview

Regular examination of the skin by both you and your doctor increases the chance of finding melanoma early. Most melanomas that appear in the skin can be seen by the naked eye. If you have a question or concern about something on your skin, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Common Symptoms of Melanoma

In most cases, the first symptom of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of an existing mole. Most melanomas have a black or blue-black area. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. It may be black, abnormal, or "ugly looking." Although skin cancer can be painful, pain is not a common melanoma symptom.

Remember the ABCDs

Thinking of "ABCD" can help you remember the symptoms of melanoma. The ABCDs are:
  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Color
  • Diameter.
Asymmetry is when the shape of one half of the mole does not match the other.
Border is when the edges are ragged, notched, blurred, or irregular in outline; the pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.
The color is uneven and shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, grey, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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