SkinCare Physicians

At risk for melanoma? Remember your ABCDEs

Published on Oct 30th, 2014 by Tania Phillips

Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer, but the good news is that survival rates are high if it is detected and treated early. To help her patients to detect melanoma, Boston dermatologist Dr. Tania Phillips gives them a simple list of questions to answer and asks them to remember their ABCDEs.

Are you at risk for melanoma?

If you answer YES to one or more of the following questions, you might be more likely to develop melanoma and we recommend that you get your skin examined regularly by a dermatologist. However, it does not mean that you will get melanoma.

  1. Do you have fair or freckled skin, red or blonde hair and Blue eyes?
  2. Do you tend to burn in the sun?
  3. Have you had blistering sunburns in childhood?
  4. Have you been exposed to ultraviolet radiation, including sunlight, tanning beds or sun lamps?
  5. Did you have blistering sunburns in childhood?
  6. Do you have moles that have unusual shape or color?
  7. Do you have more than 50 moles on your body?
  8. Does anyone in your family have a history of skin cancer or melanoma?
  9. Have you ever had a skin cancer or melanoma?

How to spot melanoma

While doing a self-skin exam, look for signs of melanoma using the ABCDE method below. If you see one or more, make an appointment with your dermatologist.

A for Asymetry

A= Asymmetry – One half of the mole is different to the other half


B for Border B= Border – The edges of the mole are irregular or uneven


C for Color  C= Color – The mole is unevenly colored


D for Diameter  D= Diameter – Diameter is larger than 6mm or the end of a pencil eraser


E for Evolution E= Evolution – The mole has changed in size shape or color, or a new mole develops


If you are concerned about the appearance of your moles, or have risk factors for melanoma, don’t delay. Get your skin checked by a dermatologist. It could save your life!

Learn more about skin cancer and melanoma

Find Dr. Tania Phillips on Google+

Image source: American Academy of Dermatology –

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Chestnut Hill, MA (617) 731-1600

SkinCare Physicians®
1244 Boylston Street (Route 9)
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467

Phone: (617) 731-1600 Fax: (617) 731-1601

Medical Website Design & Marketing
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SkinCare Physicians®
1244 Boylston Street (Route 9)
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467

Phone: (617) 731-1600 Fax: (617) 731-1601

Medical Website Design & Marketing by Etna Interactive

The dermatologists and other medical professionals at SkinCare Physicians specialize in a wide range of dermatology treatments and services, including laser hair removal, laser skin treatment, hair transplant, eyelid surgery, body contouring, psoriasis, skin cancer, BOTOX® Cosmetic, fillers, and Thermage®. From their offices in Chestnut Hill, they serve Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and Wellesley.