Cancerous Moles: Do You Know What to Look For?
Moles, also called nevi, are common skin growths. Clusters of pigmented skin cells are what cause these small dark brown spots on the body. Whether you have 5 moles or 50 moles, you shouldn’t let these skin spots go unchecked. While most moles are not a source of concern, they can present changes and characteristics that indicate skin cancer. How often are you looking at your moles?
Moles can be congenital, acquired or atypical. To determine whether a mole is potentially cancerous, there is an ease “5 sign” evaluation you can perform at home. All you have to remember is your alphabet. Learn the ABCDE rule to know when you should seek a dermatologist for further evaluation:
- A is for Asymmetry: Does your mole have an irregular shape?
- B is for Border: Does your mole have a defined edge?
- C is for Color: Is your mole the same color throughout?
- D is for Diameter: Is your mole larger than the size of a pencil eraser?
- E is for Evolution: Has your mole changed over time?
Moles that point to concern are moles that are asymmetrical, borderless, mixed in color, larger than a pencil eraser and changing. Any one of these characteristics does not automatically mean you have a malignant mole, but it does mean it needs professional evaluation and a possible biopsy.
At Spectrum Dermatology, we encourage patients to check their moles on a regular basis. Ideally, you should schedule a full body skin check with one of our dermatologists at least once a year. You may need to keep a closer watch on your moles if you have risk factors for skin cancer, including family history, fair skin tone, high UV exposure or a weakened immune system.
Do you have a suspicious mole? Skin cancer is highly treatable if detected at an early stage. Schedule your visit at our Scottsdale clinic sooner rather than later.