Moles are a proliferation of pigmented cells found on the skin. While the vast majority of moles are benign, melanoma (a potentially dangerous skin cancer) can grow within a mole. Therefore, it is important to understand the signs of an abnormal mole, perform regular self checks and keep regular check ups with your Dermatologist for screenings.
What Are The Signs Of Abnormal Moles?
When looking for abnormal moles, it is helpful to remember the ABCDE’s of abnormal moles:
A. Asymmetry: Healthy moles are usually symmetric in shape.
B. Border: Healthy moles have a clear and distinct border. Abnormal moles can have fuzzy, uneven or fading borders.
C. Color: Healthy moles are one solid color. Two or more colors could be a sign of a suspicious mole.
D. Diameter: Usually, normal moles will be 6mm in diameter or less, or the size of a pencil eraser.
E. Evolution: Any change in a mole, especially in a short amount of time, should be evaluated by a physician. It is important to have a good grasp on the size, shape, and color of your moles so that change can be recognized quickly.
What If I Have a Suspicious Mole?
If you have any concern regarding a mole, having it evaluated is usually a quick appointment with your Dermatologist. If the lesion looks concerning, it may be measured and recorded for monitoring or a biopsy may be performed for more definitive diagnosis. Older patients, people with history of sunburns or tanning, those with a large number of moles, patients with fair skin/red hair and those with a family history of melanoma should have their moles checked regularly by a dermatologist.
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