Melanoma Warning Signs

Melanoma Warning Signs | Shiloh Dermatology | St Louis DermatologistIt is important to practice sun safety not only in the summer, but also throughout the year. Both men and women should ideally assess their skin from head-to-toe every month to check for any suspicious looking lesions.

These self-exams are important for the early detection of cancer when the possibility of curing the disease is high.

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner), who both treat general derm patients, provide skin care treatments to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding communities.


Detecting Melanoma

To detect melanomas or non-melanoma skin cancers such as BCC and SCC, it is important to identify any new growths or moles, or any changes in existing growths. Other key symptoms include lesions that itch, change, bleed, or do not heal.

Early detection of melanoma (which is the most threatening type of skin cancer) is crucial and doctors have devised two distinct strategies to help ensure it can be detected in its initial stage.



  • ABCDEs
  • The Ugly Duckling Sign




ABCDE stands for Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, and Evolution of a mole. Moles which are brown spots and growths on the skins are, in general, harmless. People with over 100 moles are at a higher risk for melanoma. The initial signs can manifest in one or more atypical moles.

This makes it vital to understand your skin closely and notice any mole-related changes on the body. Search for ABCDE signs of melanoma, and in case you see one, consult your dermatologist promptly.


The Ugly Duckling Sign

The basis of this method is that melanomas appear different from other moles, and they are the “ugly ducklings.” The reasoning in this method is that the “normal” moles on the patient’s body resemble one another, akin to siblings, while the potential melanoma looks and feels different, or changes differently over time in comparison to the other moles.


More than a Mole

In general, the moles on a specific person’s body tend to be similar to each other. A suspicious outlier will be a mole that appears very different compared to others on the body. This mole may fit the ABCDEs or appear dubious in another way.

For instance, if an individual has many dark, large moles and they detect a smaller, reddish mole, they should reach out to a doctor to have the area examined. Lastly, some types of skin cancers manifest in lesions that are technically not even moles.

BCC is the most common skin cancer type, and it may occur as a shiny bump in almost any hue. This includes innocuous colors like clear, pearly white, and pink. SCC, at times, looks like a bleeding, open sore or a crusty patch.  


Amelanotic Melanomas

A majority of melanomas display many, or all the characteristics called the ABCDEs of Melanoma, where “C” stands for color differences. These changes occur due to variations in the melanin (the normally black to a dark brown pigment found in the skin, hair, and the iris of the eye).

It is important to note that certain melanomas do not have any pigment. These lesions are called amelanotic melanomas and may be completely colorless.

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner) receive patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas for various skin treatments.

If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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