ABCD method for screening skin cancer

To improve diagnostic accuracy, the  ABCD rule of lesion screening is widely used which is based on asymmetry (A), border (B), color (C), and differential structure (D) measuring.

•         A total dermatoscopic value (TDV) results from the calculation

TDV = A·1,3 + B·0,1 + C·0,5 + D·0,5

•         This score contributes to the differentiation between benign and malignant lesions:

                                           1,00  –  4,75 – benign skin lesion

                                           4,75  –  5,45 – suspicious

                                           More than 5,45 – melanoma


A – Asymmetry of Shape, Structure, and Color. The skin lesion is divided into four regions, and there is symmetry inspected across x or y-axis. If asymmetry is only by one axis, it gives 1 point and if on both axes there are 2 points calculated. So for shape, structure, and color, there can be 6 points maximum.

Border and Color

For measuring border irregularities, the lesion is divided into 8 regions. If in one particular region color is ends strictly with the boundary of lesion there is one point. If lesion color changes smoothly to skin color, then there are 0 points. So for B, there can be a maximum of 8 points.

For color there can be as many points as many colors there can be found on the lesion. Usually, there are 6 main colors, so total of 6 points for C.


Dermatological Structure D

There are 5 main structures noticed in lesions. No structures – smooth color – 1 point, net structure another 1 point, tree-like boundaries another 1 point, dots – 1 point and globules 1 point. Total of 5 points can be. In some literature, there can be a diameter of lesion measured for D. If the width is more than 6 mm it can be stated as suspicious.

When looking in Total Dermatological Value formula, there are evident that the main criteria are Asymmetry. It is usually the main screening option.  It is easy to inspect yourself using this methodology. If there is any concern, it is better to visit your doctor.



  1. Thanks for the information. Melanoma is a growing threat and evidence shows that it is one of the deadliest form of skin cancer. Some Melanomarelated information are available here foe readers.

  2. Is it possible to share your code?

  3. narayanareddy battula

    I need computed values of A,B,C,D not just by seeing with human eye
    could you please help me
    If you a computer based matlab code for A,B,C,D values, please mail me

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