Skin Cancer Home > The ABCDE Signs of Skin Cancer: "E" Is for Evolving

If you notice changes in one of your moles, it's a good idea to see your doctor to rule out skin cancer. What are some of the changes to look for? Signs of evolution include things like a mole increasing in size, becoming asymmetrical, or starting to itch or ooze. By doing self-exams on a regular basis, you'll be better able to notice anything unusual.


Knowing Your ABCDEs of Skin Cancer

A mole is a common occurrence, with most people having around 25 moles by the time they are 20 to 30 years old. While it can be easy to overlook your skin, it is important to pay close attention to it. With time, exposure to the sun, tanning beds, or various other risk factors, you may have an increased risk for developing skin cancer.
Melanoma is just one type of skin cancer, but it is the most dangerous. This form, if left untreated, can spread to other areas of body where it may be more difficult to treat. Catching melanoma in its early stages is the best way to prevent a potentially fatal problem. But how do you know what to look for? 
Knowing your ABCDEs can help teach you how to spot a potentially cancerous mole. These include:
  • A for asymmetry -- one half of a mole does not match the other
  • B for border irregularity -- the edges are irregular, notched, or blurred
  • C for color -- the color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue
  • D for diameter -- the spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch -- the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this
  • E for evolving -- the mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
Let's focus on "E" -- where changes in color, size, shape, and various other signs can be a significant indicator for skin cancer.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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