Moles are a simple fact of life: almost everyone has them, and most of the time they are a harmless and merely an aesthetic presence on the skin. Despite their universality, it is important to keep an eye on the color, size, and shape of your moles, as changes in these qualities can be signs of various types of skin cancer. If you notice any of the changes or characteristics listed below, it is crucial that you schedule a check-up with your dermatologist as soon as possible.
When to Relax: Normal Moles
Everyone has moles, and most moles shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Normal moles are typically brownish and uniform in color. Black or tan moles are also common and healthy. Normal moles can be oval or round, so long as they are symmetrical. They can also appear to be flattened or raised. If the mole in question has all of these qualities and does not appear to be changing color or growing, it is most likely a normal, healthy mole that does not need to be checked out.
When to Seek Medical Advice: The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer
If you notice any of the following in your moles, contact Steele Creek Dermatology as soon as possible, as they could be signs of skin cancer:
- Asymmetry: The mole is irregularly shaped, and one side does not match the shape of the other, it could be cancerous.
- Border: The area outlining the mole is blurred, irregular, or otherwise poorly defined
- Color: The mole is several different shades of color, or is red, blue or pink.
- Diameter: The diameter of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, or about ¼ inch.
- Evolution: The mole is changing in color, size, shape, or texture.
Other Warning Signs
Some signs of skin cancer are not covered in ABCDE. Additional warning signs include:
- The appearance of new moles
- Sores that do not heal
- Redness or swelling past the border of a mole
- Chronic itchiness, tenderness, or pain
Since most skin cancer is easy to treat in its early stages, it is of the utmost importance to contact Steele Creek Dermatology if you have any moles that exhibit any of the warning signs described or are suspect in any way. Doing this can not only save you a great deal of time and money: it could potentially save your life.
At Steele Creek Dermatology in Charlotte, we offer abnormal mole evaluations. Our medical team can help determine if your mole is cosmetic or if it warrants further testing. Performing regular at-home skin checks in addition to annual dermatology appointments can help in the early diagnosis and treatment of any abnormal skin concerns.