Moffitt expert explains the ABCDE melanoma check

Charles Cure is getting a thorough exam on his skin at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. He's having every freckle and mole on his body and head examined. 

Over the past few years, he's undergone treatments after a melanoma was discovered on his back. 

"It was evidently something that was there a long time ago. In my case, it really spread quite a bit and I'm just very fortunate to be here," shared Cure.

"After a first melanoma you have a risk of a second melanoma that is 10 to 25 times higher than a patient that never had a melanoma," explained Dr. Lucia Seminario-Vidal. 

Dermatologists turn to the alphabet when checking for those suspicious spots. 

"We like to use the ‘ABCDE rule’ for a freckle," said Dr. Seminario-Vidal.

"A" stands for asymmetry.  

"When one half is different than the other one," added Dr. Seminario-Vidal

"B" is for border.

"When the borders are not symmetric,"  Dr. Seminario-Vidal explained.

"C" is for color.

"So, when a mole has more than one color. We like to see like round brown moles but if you see red or two tones of brown, it's a mole that needs to be evaluated." shared Dr. Seminario-Vidal.

"D" is for diameter.

"When the size is larger than a pencil eraser, it's also a red flag in a mole or a freckle," said Dr. Seminario-Vidal.

"E" is for evolution.

"When a mole starts changing, growing, become raised, bleeding or becoming itchy, it needs to be evaluated," Dr. Seminario-Vidal explained.

Cure said being proactive is lifesaving too. 

"See your doctor and follow up and take care of yourself!"

The Moffitt Cancer Center Mole Patrol will be hosting free skin, head, neck and oral cancer screenings on Saturday, July 31 from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Pier 60 Pavilion on Clearwater Beach.  

LINK: For more information from Moffitt CancerCenter about the ABCDE rule visit