If you’ve just noticed a mole or you’ve noticed changes in an existing one, you may be concerned about the possibility of cancer. Most of the time, moles pose no real threat, but there are some signs that you should show your dermatologist during an evaluation. Let’s learn more about them and what you should look for when assessing your mole.
Types of Moles
Moles are divided into three types. The kind of moles you have will often help determine the risk you have of developing skin cancer. It’s important to let your dermatologist know when you noticed the moles to help determine the proper diagnosis.
- Congenital: moles that exist when you are born
- Acquired: moles that develop after you are born
- Atypical: irregular moles that develop later in life and are often genetic
The ABCDE Rule: The 5 Signs
When assessing a mole, there are five things you should consider. Remember, these are just guidelines, and if you are ever concerned, you should always see a dermatologist to be sure.
- Asymmetry: a mole that is an irregular shape
- Border: most benign moles will have a very defined edge
- Color: moles can be pink, brown or black in color but should be the same color throughout
- Diameter: moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser could be dangerous
- Evolution: benign moles typically don’t change over time
Other Factors to Consider
It’s important to consider other risk factors for skin cancer when deciding to see a dermatologist about your mole.
- Family History: if others in your family have been diagnosed with skin cancer, a dermatologist should assess any moles
- Fair Skin: those with lighter skin tone are at higher risk of skin cancer
- UV Exposure: living in an area with higher UV risk, regularly tanning or using tanning beds all increase your risk for skin anomalies
- Weakened Immune System: whether due to health or medication, those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for developing additional medical conditions, including skin cancer
Any time you are concerned about a mole, you should see an experienced dermatologist. The Medical Dermatology Specialists in Atlanta can help put your mind at ease or create a personalized treatment plan if necessary. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM