To identify the difference between a benign and malignant skin growth, people can follow the recommendation provided by the American Cancer Society, which is to look for the warning signs of melanoma given by the letters ABCDE. When doing a self-examination of a suspicious mole or skin growth, the things to watch out for include asymmetry, border type, color, diameter size and its evolution over time.
Although most moles and skin spots may not be serious, some can be linked to skin melanoma. The first warning sign to look for is if a mole is asymmetrical (A) because this may indicate a malignant growth. The (B) refers to the specific appearance of the mole border. If the mole rim is irregular, it is a sign of possible melanoma skin cancer.
Similarly, people should also look at the color (C) of the growth. A benign growth is even in color. The (D) represents the growth's diameter. When the size is greater than 6.0 millimeters, it can be a another warning sign of a malignancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Another warning sign is given by the letter (E), which corresponds to how the mole is evolving over time. A person should check if it is changing in color, diameter or overall shape.
However, there can be other warning signs that can indicate skin cancer, such as a mole that tends to bleed, is scaly or painful, states the American Melanoma Foundation. A self-examination of a mole or skin growth that presents any of these signs should be seen by a doctor.