Skin cancer is a relatively common condition. Melanoma is considered the deadliest form of skin cancer, but it’s not the only type to watch out for.
The good news is that skin cancers, even melanoma, are highly curable with early detection. That’s why it’s critical to pay attention to abnormal moles, one of the earliest signs of skin cancer.
Moles are a common skin condition, so you need the right information to determine if a mole is abnormal and a cause for concern.
At Orange Coast Dermatology, our team of skin care experts can help you determine if a mole is abnormal and if you need testing for skin cancer. We treat new and existing patients in Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, and Orange, California.
If you have a mole that you consider suspicious, here are some tips on how to tell if it’s abnormal. Remember, if you’re not sure, it never hurts to check with the experts at Orange Coast Dermatology!
Moles: Common and often benign
Moles, also known as beauty marks, are common skin growths that affect adults. Babies don’t typically have moles, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an adult without at least one of these small, pigmented spots.
Moles often appear on parts of your body frequently exposed to sunlight. If you’re outside a lot, you’re more likely to develop moles than someone who stays out of the sun. Moles also appear more frequently on fairer skin.
There’s a wide variety in the appearance of normal, healthy moles. Many have pigmentation, appearing black, brown, or tan; others may match your skin tone. Healthy moles can stay the same for years or become more raised or lighter in color. Healthy moles can even fade away.
Detecting abnormal moles
Abnormal moles undergo atypical changes, changing in ways healthy moles don’t. The method we recommend to spot atypical moles is as simple as “ABCDE.” Watch for changes related to:
- Asymmetry, atypical moles are more likely to have an irregular shape
- Border, atypical moles have edges that look notched, scalloped, or poorly defined
- Color, moles that appear mottled with more than one color are atypical
- Diameter, moles larger than a pencil eraser are atypical
- Evolving, atypical moles are more likely to change rapidly and noticeably
Any discernible change in size, shape, or color can be a concern with moles. You don’t want to risk letting skin cancer develop without early detection.
When in doubt, have your mole checked by a dermatology professional. Schedule a skin cancer screening at Orange Coast Dermatology team online or over the phone today.