Facebook Pixel

Learning the ABC's of Skin Cancer

By Expert HERWriter
Rate This
learning the skin cancer ABC's Hemera/Thinkstock

During the summer individuals and families spend time outside enjoying the wonderful weather. Beach vacations are one of the favorite pastimes for people on the east coast and probably everywhere else, too.

Since we are spending so much time outside we are more aware of our skin and the ways to protect ourselves. Since we are looking at our skin, I thought it would be a great time to give you the signs to look for skin cancer.

In medical school we learned the ABCDs to identify cancer lesions on the skin. Since then they have added E.

These characteristics are easy to see on skin lesions.

A stands for Asymmetry
Is this mole or the lesion on your skin exactly round? Or does it look different on each side? You want it to look symmetrical. That is normal.

B stands for Borders
Normal lesions will have contained borders. If you observe that the lesion has scalloped or notched edges, that is not normal.

C stands for Color
If the lesion has one color that is normal while multiple colors could mean a problem.

D stands for Diameter
Having a small lesion less than ¼ of a inch is considered normal. One that is larger than ¼ of an inch, or growing larger over time, is another sign to have the lesion checked.

E stands for Evolving
This is looking at the previous characteristics of ABCD, to see if any of them are evolving, and watching to see if there are changes over time. Evolving also includes new symptoms such as itching, bleeding or crusting on the lesion.

If you see any abnormalities of ABCD or E then it is always best to make an appointment to see your doctor to get their opinion or get further testing if necessary.

Now that you know what the signs are for skin cancer let’s talk about who is at risk for it. Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, including those of us with darker skin tones.

Those with fair skin are at higher risk, as are those that work or spend large amounts of time in the sun.

Skin cancer develops primarily on the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands, and legs. People with darker complexions need to look at other places that do not see the sun like palms, fingernails, toenails or the genital areas.

Our skin is so important. It is vital that we take care of it and make sure there are no abnormal lesions on our skin!

Live Vibrantly,

Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.com

Dr. Dae's Bio:

“Dr. Dae" (pronounced Dr. Day) Daemon Jones is a Naturopathic Physician who lives in Washington DC but helps patients all over the country with phone and Skype visits on the web. Dr. Dae’s role is to help you cultivate actions and activities that support and harvest in your life of healthy patterns for better days.


"Do You Know Your ABCDEs? - SkinCancer.org." The Skin Cancer Foundation - SkinCancer.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2012.

"Skin cancer: Symptoms - MayoClinic.com." Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2012.

Reviewed June 15, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

very interesting.........

October 11, 2012 - 8:52am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Skin Cancer

Get Email Updates

Skin Cancer Guide


Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!