Almost everyone has a mole on their skin. A mole, which is a collection of cells that appears as a sport on your skin, is usually darker than the skin surrounding it. It can be raised or flat and is usually harmless. Sometimes, however, moles can indicate melanoma – a very aggressive type of skin cancer. This is especially true when the mole is new, changing, or otherwise atypical. While often benign, atypical moles can signify something life-threatening, so getting them checked out by a Mole New York specialist is important. Here are five indications you should schedule an appointment soon.
Most normal moles are symmetrical in size and shape. The two halves would match if you drew a line through their middle. In contrast, moles that might indicate melanoma are often asymmetrical. Their two halves do not match, and the overall shape is neither oval nor round and is usually more irregular. When checking your moles, determine whether the bottom half looks like the top half and if the left and right sides are similar. If not, you may need to see a doctor.
Melanoma moles tend to have uneven borders with notches, scalloped, or ragged edges. Common moles are different because their borders are more even and smoother. In this regard, you should be reassured if the border of your mole is smooth, uniform, sharp, and well-defined.
Another warning sign of possible melanoma is a mole that changes color or is multiple shades. Benign moles are usually one shade of brown that is close to your natural skin color, albeit darker. On the other hand, melanomas can have different colors, like black, tan, and brown. It may also develop other colors like blue, white, and red as it grows. When checking the mole color, you want to see one solid color. More than one shade is a reason to get checked by your dermatologist.
Wide Diameter and Darker Hue
The best case scenario is catching a melanoma-indicating mole when it is still small, and the chances of recovery are higher. However, sometimes, the only warning sign you get of a worrying mole is a wide diameter. Benign moles are usually small and about the size of a regular pencil diameter. This is approximately a quarter inch or 6mm wide. If a mole is larger than this, it could be cancerous. You should also watch out for moles that appear darker than your other moles.
Evolving Color, Shape, or Size
Lastly, a mole may be something to worry about if its color, shape, size, or elevation are evolving. A mole that evolves could be a sign of increasing cancerous cells. You should also discuss any mole that suddenly develops new symptoms like crusting, itching, or bleeding with your doctor.
Discuss Abnormal Moles with Your Dermatologist
Moles are often benign clumps of cells; about every adult has several of them. In most cases, moles are not something to worry about. This is until they start to change or cause worrying symptoms. Medical professionals often conduct an annual mole check to assess your risk of melanoma. However, if you are worried about a mole, you should schedule a consultation yourself. Your doctor can examine it and take some samples to rule out skin cancer or provide a diagnosis and treatment.