Cochise Oncology

Share This Post

What is the ABCDE Rule of Skin Cancer?

When you notice an unusual blemish on your skin, it’s easy to just brush it off. You tell yourself it’s “only a mole” or “just another age spot.”

Unfortunately, some skin spots could be the result of cancer. And if you leave the problem to develop, your prognosis could suffer. 

Fortunately, there is a memorable mnemonic called the ABCDE rule you can use to identify possible skin cancer lesions. Read on to find out more about it.

Skin Screening Tucson

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in skin cells called melanocytes that produce the skin-darkening pigment, melanin. Sun exposure, aging, and environmental factors can cause genetic changes that make these cells cancerous. 

Women see the majority of melanoma lesions on their legs, while men typically get in on sun-exposed parts of the back. However, they can affect any part of the body. 

The ABCDE Rule of Skin Cancer

The ABCDE rule of skin cancer is a technique Cochise Oncology patients can use to identify possible instances of skin cancer. Unlike normal blemishes, melanomas have a unique appearance. 

A – Asymmetry

Skin cancer usually first appears as a mole on the skin before it burrows down and spreads to the rest of the body. Regular moles are usually symmetrical. But cancerous spots tend to have irregular shapes. If you notice dramatic shape changes, come to Cochise Oncology for a full diagnosis. 

B – Border

The next step is to check the border of the spot. Most moles have smooth borders. However, cancerous melanomas often have jagged or irregular outlines. 

C – Color

Now take a look at the color of the spot. Is it all the same? Or are there alternating dark and light patches? If the color varies considerably, it could again be a sign of cancer. 

D – Diameter

Unless you have a birthmark, spots shouldn’t be larger than the size of a pea. If you notice a spot is getting bigger than this, it could indicate the development of cancer. 

E – Evolution

The final step is to check whether the spot is changing over time. Usually, moles will maintain a consistent appearance for a long time. Some can fade away altogether. However, if you notice a big change in the appearance of a mole within the space of a couple of weeks or months, you should get it checked. It could be a sign of cancer at work.  


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

Should I Consider Getting a Skin Screening?

Getting your skin screened is one of the best things you can do to prevent melanoma from significantly affecting your quality of life. Fortunately, at Cochise Oncology, we provide careful visual screenings to identify possibly cancerous lesions. If we detect anything unusual, we perform biopsies to determine whether the spot is benign or not. Ultimately, we aim to ensure that your skin blemishes no longer worry you. 


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Are you ready to learn more about skin cancer? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page. We look forward to meeting you!

More To Explore