Skin cancer screening and patient education are important factors for recognizing potential skin cancers and intervening early. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends that patients perform regular skin self-examinations. Teach patients the ABCED-EFG method for assessing moles as outlined below.
Clinicians and patients can apply the ABCDE method when screening for melanoma. A mole exhibiting any of the following signs should be referred for further examination and/or biopsy (Swetter & Geller, 2021):
- Asymmetry: if a lesion is cut in half, one side is not identical to the other; may be higher on one side, a different texture, or color
- Border irregularity and bleeding: jagged edges, tails, bleeding or ulceration are signs of melanoma
- Color variegation: 2 or 3 colors present or distributed unevenly
- Diameter: greater than or equal to 6 mm
- Evolving: any change in mole over weeks to months in size, shape or color
The addition of EFG has been included to help detect aggressive nodular melanomas.
- Firm to palpation
- Growing progressively over several weeks
Bickley, L. S., Szilagyi, P. G., Hoffman, R. M., & Soriano, R. P. (2021). Bate’s Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking (13th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health: Philadelphia.
García-Lozano, J. A., Salerni, G., Cuellar-Barboza, A., la Garza, J., & Ocampo-Candiani, J. (2019). Rapid Dermoscopic Changes in Nodular Melanoma. Dermatology practical & conceptual, 10(1), e2020016. https://doi.org/10.5826/dpc.1001a16
Swetter, S. & Geller, A. (2021, February 22). Melanoma: Clinical features and diagnosis. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/melanoma-clinical-features-and-diagnosis