Moles. We all have them. While most are harmless, others can potentially be life-threatening when they become malignant (cancerous). Many patients who walk through our door are unsure about when they need to see their dermatologist about a mole. Skin cancer can be a scary thought but with early detection, it has a very high cure rate.
Self-checks are recommended for adults every 3-months or so (more if you’re at risk). During a self-check, take note of any suspicious moles that have changed in size, shape, or color and alert your doctor. Take a look below to help determine if your mole may be cancerous. In-office skin cancer checks are quick, painless, and can put your mind at ease so it’s often played better safe than sorry.
Moles That Change or Differ
Most moles found throughout our face and body are similar in size and appearance. When looking closely, you’ll notice your moles have a round or oval shape with well-defined borders. Moles are typically sized no larger than 6mm.
Follow this ABCDE screening process when performing a self-examination.
- Asymmetry: One half of the mole doesn’t match the other in size or texture.
- Borders: A mole that has ragged or blurred edges.
- Color: Colors like black, blue, white, or red can be warning indicators.
- Diameter: The mole’s diameter is larger than 7mm.
- Evolving: There’s a change in size, shape, or color.
If you see a mole that differs in appearance or one that has changed since your last self-check, it might be time to consult a dermatologist.
Moles That Appear After Adulthood
The majority of moles appear on our bodies before the age of 25. Moles that appear later in life should be checked with extra scrutiny. If the mole is raised, firm, or scaly you’ll want to get a professional exam and pathology test right away.
Large, Itchy, or Painful Moles
Aside from being aesthetically displeasing, moles shouldn’t have any adverse side effects. Moles that are itchy, tingly, or tender are indicators that something’s wrong. Moles that bleed or weep should also be addressed immediately.
Take the Next Step
Suspect you may have a malignant mole? Skin cancer has a high cure rate when caught early-on so don’t hesitate to schedule an in-person consultation today.
If you’d like to learn more about our Skin Cancer Checks, please fill out the form on this page or call (562) 280-2071. Laser Skin Care Center proudly serves the Long Beach, CA area and offers a variety of dermatology services.