Question: What are the signs of skin cancer? 

The ABCDE was developed as an easy way to remember the common signs to determine whether you may have a skin cancer.

A–Asymmetry of lesion can indicate that you may need to see your dermatologist. I explain that if you visually try to split a lesion in half and flip it on itself, and it were not to match up to the other side, it would not be symmetrical.

B–Irregular borders can be a sign that something might be wrong. See your dermatologist! If the edges are jagged or loopy or changing, then cells could be malignant and should be sample or biopsied.

C–Multiple colors within a mole or lesion can signify danger. Sometimes one lesion alone can have brown, black, grey and white within the same lesion. Many colors or multiple shades are not a good sign and should be evaluated by your dermatologist.

D–A diameter larger than a pencil eraser, or greater than 6mm, is considered to be a possible concern for skin cancer, especially if it is a new change for a mole or lesion. This should be examined by a board-certified dermatologist.

E–Evolving and changing lesions should be examined as quickly as possible by a dermatologist. Some lesions might be scaling, or crusting or even bleeding. Some might become raised or spreading. Any of these changes should alert the patient that something is different, and they should seek medical attention because it is always better to catch something quickly and deal with it in the earliest stages of the disease process which prognosis is best, than to wait and allow the disease to spread and potentially deal with devastating circumstances that could have been prevented by a quick trip to your friendly dermatologist.

Click here for more information about skin cancer and treatment options, and here for before and after photos of Dr. Turner’s skin cancer patients.



Dermatologist, Ellen Turner MD.

Dr. Ellen Turner is a double board-certified dermatologist with practices in Dallas and Irving, Texas. She specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology, as well as anti-aging and regenerative medicine.

To schedule an appointment, please call 214-373-7546.