Learn how to tell a mole from melanoma

Melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, is often difficult to diagnose and can spread — or metastasize — if it is not detected and removed quickly.

When found early, however, melanoma can often be treated with a simple surgery. Routine self-examinations are an important part of identifying melanoma in its earliest, and most treatable, stages.

In order to determine if a mole may be melanoma, follow the ABCDE method of self-screening:

Here's how to tell a mole from melanoma

If you have a mole that fits one or more of these criteria, you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible so he or she can determine if a biopsy is necessary. You can also ask your primary care doctor to check your skin for signs of skin cancer at your annual physical. Remember: early detection is key!

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About Dermatology

The UPMC Department of Dermatology diagnoses, treats, and manages numerous hair, skin, and nail conditions and diseases. We care for common and uncommon conditions, and our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We operate several specialty centers for various conditions. The UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center is a comprehensive dermatologic laser facility, offering a full range of cosmetic services and procedures. With UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we offer a Skin Cancer Program that provides complete care from screenings, diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. Find a dermatology provider near you.