Melanomas tend to be asymmetric, irregular-bordered, dark black (or multi-colored), large, and growing.
ABCDE of Melanoma

The ABCDE Criteria

ABCDE Criteria*

 A      Asymmetric shape        
 B      Border, irregular        
 C      Colors, multiple or dark black        
 D      Diameter, 7 mm. or greater
 E      Evolving

*Any lesion with 2 or more should be removed [JAAD 2015;72;717].


Round or oval shape is a good sign. Asymmetry in shape (or color) is a worrisome sign.
A benign mole with uniform pigmentation A melanoma with notched borders and multiple colors

Border, Irregular

A smooth border is a good sign. An irregular, notched border is a worrisome sign.
A benign, raised mole with hair A Melanoma with notched borders and irregular color

Color, Dark or Multi-Colored

Uniform coloration is a good sign. A very dark black or a multi-colored mole is a worrisome sign.
A small, benign mole A melanoma with dark black and brown areas

Diameter 7 mm or Greater

A small lesion is a good sign. Diameter 7 mm or greater is a worrisome sign.
Two small benign moles on the foot A melanoma larger than a pencil eraser


Any mole that has been stable for years and then suddenly changes should be considered for biopsy. In the second photo, the dark growth was new (and turned out to be a melanoma).
A benign mole with slight notching of the border A melanoma developing in a normal mole


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