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Moles: When to See the Doctor

When noticing a new mole, a simple check can help you figure out if it’s worth a visit to the dermatologist. Of course, the two rules below are just guides and moles should be checked by a doctor if they are unusual in anyway.

The ABCD Rule

Melanoma can have any of the following symptoms.


The shape of one half does not match the other.


The edges are often ragged, notched, blurred, or irregular in outline; the pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.


Colour is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, grey, red, pink, or blue also may be seen.


Size changes and usually increases. Typically, melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter (the diameter of a pencil).

EFG Rule

There is a class of rapidly growing, nodular melanoma, which represent about 20% of all cases. This type of melanoma doesn’t subscribe to the traditional ABCD rule. This means it can often go undetected. Fortunately, they can be identified early using the E.F.G. rule.


Nodular melanoma usually have all three of the below criteria:




The moles don’t need to be dark or have any other colour to them, but the key is that they’re raised, firm, often symmetrical and most importantly changing/growing progressively. In the early stages, this might not be visible – it may just be itchy, or just feels funny. This type of melanoma can affect anyone but most commonly found on men over 50. Nodular melanoma grows fast and can go deep very quickly (within a few months). This is why they’re so dangerous and need early diagnosis and removal.


Melanoma does not always fit the ABCD orEFG rules. If you notice a lesion that is:

  • Different from others
  • Changing in shape, size or colour
  • New
  • Itches
  • Bleeds

Give us at Malvern Dermatology Clinic a call or email.



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