ABCDE of Skin Cancer Recognition

ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer Recognition

Skin cancer is considered to be the most widespread type of cancer. Individuals who have fair skin are at the greatest risk of developing skin cancers; however, there are several other risk factors including:

  • Genetics or family history
  • Scarring from disease or burns
  • Use of tanning beds or devices
  • Repeated X-ray exposure
  • Overall sun exposure

Skin cancer is the easiest cancer to cure; however, it is very important to catch any type of skin cancer in its earliest stages. If detected early, there is a greater chance of successful treatment.

If you are in one of high-risk groups, you should routinely check your body for any changes in the skin, especially moles. The “ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer Recognition” is a method that can help you evaluate any spots or moles. These refer to the following:

  • Asymmetry: One half is unlike the other. For example, if you were to draw a line through the mole and the two halves do not match.
  • Border: Irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined borders
  • Color: Variation of color from one area to another, shades of tan and brown or black; sometimes white, red, or blue.
  • Diameter: Moles that are 5 mm in diameter or less, are less likely to be cancerous.
  • Evolving: This is when moles begin to change over time, as most moles will not usually change. These changes can include size, color, or if the mole starts to bleed, itch or crust over.


These ABCDE’s of skin cancer should be followed when doing regular self-exams to detect any changes or irregularities as soon as possible. These self-exams are especially important for people who are at a higher risk for developing skin cancers. In addition to monthly self-exams, an annual exam from your dermatologist should be done as well. This annual exam can be beneficial for those areas of your body that you may not be able to see during your regular self-exams.   For more on skin self exam click on this page


Skin Cancer Treatments Offered at the Laser Lipo and Vein Center

Should skin cancer be detected, there are several types of surgeries and treatments, including

  • Simple excision 
  • Curettage and electrodessication
  • Mohs surgery
  • Cryosurgery
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • Laser surgery

Contact Dr. Wright at the Laser Lipo and Vein Center for More Information

As an experienced St. Louis dermatologist, Dr. Thomas Wright can answer any questions you may have about skin cancer and its risks. He and his staff can also help you understand how important early detection is. Should you need treatment, he can also help guide you toward the best treatment or surgery for your case. Contact us today for more information!