Moles are common skin growths that most people have somewhere on their body. They usually appear during childhood and adolescence and can change or fade over time. While most moles are harmless, some can develop into melanoma, a serious and potentially deadly skin cancer. Early detection of melanoma is crucial for successful treatment. Here are six signs that a mole might be cancerous and should be checked by a skin cancer specialist:
Asymmetry: One of the primary signs of a suspicious mole is asymmetry. If you draw a line through the middle of the mole, the two halves will not match in a potentially cancerous mole. This is different from common moles, which are generally symmetrical.
Border Irregularity: The edges of cancerous moles are often irregular, notched, or blurred. The borders are typically unclear, with the pigment spreading into surrounding skin. Healthy moles, on the other hand, usually have smoother, more even borders.
Color Changes: A variety of colors is another warning sign. Non-cancerous moles are usually a single shade of brown. A mole that has multiple colors (such as shades of brown, tan, black, blue, white, or red) is a potential warning sign of melanoma.
Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than the size of the eraser on your pencil (¼ inch or 6mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when very first detected.
Evolving: Any change in size, shape, color, or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching, or crusting, points to danger. A mole that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color should always be evaluated by a skin cancer specialist such as Advanced Dermatology.
Elevation or Elevation Changes: A mole that is raised above the skin and has an uneven surface is a sign of concern. Additionally, a mole that starts flat and becomes raised over time should also be examined sooner than later.
It’s important to note that not all cancerous moles will show these signs, and sometimes moles that have these characteristics may not be cancerous. Therefore, it's essential to perform regular skin checks yourself and consult a local dermatologist for a professional evaluation of any suspicious moles or skin changes.
Self-examination of your skin is a good habit to adopt. Use the "ABCDE" rule (Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving) to remember what to look for. If you notice any changes in an existing mole or discover a new mole that has any of these characteristics, make an appointment. Early detection of skin cancer can save your life.
If you are searching for a Dermatologist in Huntsville or Madison, Alabama, Contact Advanced Dermatology to schedule your appointment. We offer a wide range of non-invasive cosmetic procedures, alongside our surgical services.