The "Ugly Duckling" Sign: An Early Melanoma Recognition Tool For Clinicians and the Public

Alon Scope, MD; Ashfaq A. Marghoob, MD


The Melanoma Letter. 2007;25(3):1-3. 

In This Article


The incidence of invasive melanoma (MM) has been rising for several decades;[1] currently it is the sixth most common cancer in both males and females.[2] The key to preventing deaths due to MM remains detecting the disease early, at a stage when surgical excision of the tumor is still curative. One clinical clue to diagnosis is the "ugly duckling" sign-a useful indicator for MM screening with implications for health care workers and the lay public alike. Given certain limitations of the established ABCDE acronym for early melanoma recognition, we suggest a new, broader way of thinking about the ugly duckling concept and its place in MM detection.


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