How to Spot Cancerous Moles

Most people frequently experience moles. These little skin growths are generally innocuous and can appear anywhere on your body.

However, certain moles can be malignant, and a mole you’ve had for a very long time might now appear to be changing. Do you need to worry?

A mole’s cosmetic changes should be taken seriously, according to plastic surgeon Brian Gastman, MD. He explains how to recognize the warning symptoms of a malignant mole and what to do if you have any concerns.

What is melanoma?

There are various different forms of skin cancer. However, melanoma is the form that is most frequently linked to moles.

A mole is a collection of melanocytes, pigment-containing cells. Dr. Gastman says that melanoma is caused when melanocytes develop into malignant cells.

Melanoma is the deadliest kind of skin cancer, while not being the most prevalent. Because of this, it’s crucial to understand the warning indications of a mole that may be malignant.

How to tell if a mole is cancerous

Follow the letters of the alphabet to identify a suspected mole. Using the “ABCDE rule,” dermatologists, according to Dr. Gastman. These five indicators indicate that you should see a doctor:

A:Asymmetry – One half of the mole differs from the other in appearance.
B: Border – Instead of a sharp edge, the mole has a border that appears erratic, scalloped, or fuzzy.
C: Color A mole can be brown, black, tan, pink, red, white, or even blue. It can also be black, tan, or tan.
D: Diameter-A mole is more than six millimeters in diameter (roughly the size of a pencil eraser).
E: Evolution – The mole is changing, whether it’s its size, color, or shape. According to Dr. Gastman, any growth that is happening quickly, is bloody or crusty, painful, or itchy is grounds for concern.


April 20, 2021 / Skin Care & Beauty

How to Spot Cancerous Moles

How to tell something may be wrong with one of your molesFACEBOOKTWITTERLINKEDINPINTERESTEmail

mole skin cancer

Moles are common occurrences for most people. These small growths on your skin can occur anywhere on your body and are, for the most part, harmless. 

But some moles can be cancerous and now a mole you’ve had forever suddenly looks different. Should you worry?

“Changes in the appearance of a mole are cause for concern,” says plastic surgeon Brian Gastman, MD. He shares how to spot the signs of a cancerous mole, and what to do if you’re worried.

What is melanoma?

There are several different types of skin cancer. But melanoma is the type most often associated with moles.

A mole is a cluster of pigment-containing cells called melanocytes. “When melanocytes become cancerous, that’s called melanoma,” Dr. Gastman explains.

“Melanoma isn’t the most common type of skin cancer, but it’s the deadliest type,” he adds. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs of a potentially cancerous mole.

How to tell if a mole is cancerous

To spot a suspicious mole, let the alphabet be your guide. Dermatologists use the “ABCDE rule,” says Dr. Gastman. These five signs mean you should see your doctor:

  • A: Asymmetry – The mole is asymmetrical — one half looks different from the other half.
  • B: Border – The mole has a border that looks irregular, scalloped or fuzzy, instead of a well-defined edge.
  • C: Color – A mole has multiple colors, including brown, black, tan, pink, red or even white and blue.
  • D: Diameter – A mole is bigger than six millimeters across (roughly the size of a pencil eraser).
  • E: Evolution – The mole is evolving — changing color, size or shape. “If it’s growing rapidly, bloody or crusty, sore or itchy, those are all causes for concern,” Dr. Gastman says.

Other signs of skin cancer

While moles can develop into cancer, this is not the only way that melanoma can spread. Dr. Gastman adds that melanoma can even appear where there isn’t already a mole.

Melanoma might mimic a birthmark, a pimple, a sore or area, or even a bruise. Additionally, a dark line under a fingernail or toenail may be a sign of melanoma.

Get it checked out by a doctor if you suspect melanoma, whether it’s in a mole or somewhere else. Melanoma is easier to cure the sooner it is discovered.

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