Moles, freckles, and other blemishes are part of what makes us unique. However, we should all keep an eye on these skin marks. Moles, in particular, have the potential to become cancerous. With this in mind, the guide below will help you spot an irregular mole, so you can see a dermatologist for a screening.
Moles & Skin Cancer: What Patients Should Know
What Does a Healthy Mole Look Like?
Moles often appear during childhood but can appear later in life due to sun exposure and are generally brown, tan, or black in color. They can be flat on the skin or elevated with a round or regular shape. Generally, healthy moles will stay the same size over several years. This should be no bigger than a pencil eraser.
What Are Some Signs That a Mole Might Be Cancerous?
Skin cancer, including melanoma, can start in moles. Dangerous signs can be summarized by the pneumonic "ABCDE," which stand for the following:
- Asymmetry: While healthy moles are regular in shape and have mirroring halves, cancerous moles will be asymmetrical.
- Border: If your mole does not have a regular border, this could be cause for concern. Check for moles with hazy borders or that blend with the skin on the edges.
- Color: Cancerous moles might show various shades of brown, red, black, tan, and even blue. Check whether your mole is one uniform color.
- Diameter: If the mole grows larger than 6mm, have it checked by a dermatologist.
- Evolution: Healthy moles don’t change much over time, so see a doctor if you notice the mole changing in any way. This is also true if a new mole appears on your skin.
Any itching, redness, bleeding, and pigment or texture changes may also be a reason for concern.
When Should You See a Dermatologist About a Mole?
If you notice any of the above issues, make an appointment with a dermatologist. However, it is also smart to see the doctor regularly for skin cancer screenings. During these appointments, they will magnify your moles and check for any signs of cancer. They may opt for further testing or immediate treatment like mole removal.
Whether you are concerned about a mole or simply want to check in with your skin’s health, the team at Heibel Dermatology has a variety of services to fit your needs. Dr. Mark D. Heibel has more than 20 years of experience as a dermatologist and is proud to work with patients in Lincoln, NE. He diagnoses and treats skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, acne, and skin cancer. He also is a fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery, offering the treatment to his patients. To view a full list of his services, visit him online today. Or call (402) 488-6969 to book an appointment.