A common rule of thumb for diagnosing melanomas is not reliable in children. A new study evaluated the ABCDE method—asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter greater than 6 mm, evolution—in 70 children up to age 19 years who had been diagnosed with melanoma or treated for suspected melanoma. The ABCDE criteria did not apply to about 45% of them. Rather, these ‘nonstandard’ melanomas were often new, bled, bumpy, varied in diameter, and were one color or lacked pigment altogether (amelanotic). Of the 10 children who died, 7 had melanomas that lacked pigment. To diagnose melanoma in children more accurately, the researchers call for using new ABCD criteria—amelanotic; bleeding; bump; color uniformity; de novo, any diameter—in conjunction with the conventional ABCDE criteria.
A new smartphone app for identifying likely melanomas is now available in the UK. Called Mole Detect Pro, the app is based on a beta version called Mole Detective that has been available in the U.S. for 2 years. The new app analyzes uploaded pictures of moles and gauges the chances that they are melanomas using the ABCDE method that is recommended for self checks at home: Asymmetry—irregular shape; Border—ragged, notched, or blurred; Color—more than one in an individual mole; Diameter—bigger than 6 mm; Evolution—changing size, color, or shape. However, while apps can help detect melanomas, recent research in JAMA Dermatology shows that that they can also miss them. Doctors caution that people should not rely on apps for diagnosing melanomas.