What are the risks of having moles?
The most important thing that a person should know about moles is that some moles can develop into a skin cancer called melanoma. This can occur near or inside an existing mole. Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer and people with many moles tend to have an increased risk of skin cancer. About 1 in 70 people in their lifetime will develop a melanoma.
There is a guide to determining if a mole is potentially precancerous on your own. It’s called the ABCDE’s of Melanoma Prevention. You should regularly performed skin self-exams can help you detect these changes. When looking for at your moles, to determine if it may be a melanoma, apply the ABCDE rule.
ABCDE’ s of Melanoma Detection
The letter “A”
stands for ASYMMETRY
; if one side of the mole is different than the other half, this may be a sign of concern.
The letter “B”
stands for BORDER
; an irregular border is a sign to see a dermatologist
The letter “C”
stands for COLORVariation
; Normal moles are usually uniform in color
The letter “D”
stands for DIAMETER
; if your lesion is over 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser) then it may be necessary to have the mole evaluated by a dermatologist.
The letter “E
stands for EVOLVING”
; any mole that changes size, shape or color must be evaluated by a Board Certified dermatologist.
What do I do if a mole meets the criteria above?
If you have any mole that meets the above criteria, you should make an appointment with a dermatologist. The dermatologist can also perform a biopsy on the mole and remove it to see if it is precancerous or malignant.
How often should I see a dermatologist to have my moles examined?
We recommend you have a total body skin exam with a dermatologist once a year to determine if you have any suspicious moles that may develop into a melanoma if left untreated.