Moles, also known as nevi, are common skin growths that can appear anywhere on your body, even under your fingernails. It is normal to have up to 40 moles on your body, most often brown in color, and round or oval in shape, according to a recent Mayo Clinic article.
Moles Appear in Many Shapes, Sizes, Colors, and Textures:
- Shape: Moles are generally round or oval.
- Size: Most normal moles are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser.
- Color: The majority of moles are brown, but moles can be a variety of colors, including red, pink, brown, black, tan, or blue.
- Texture: Moles can be flat, raised, smooth, wrinkled, or rough textured.
But Is This Mole Cancer?
The question everyone wonders when looking at a mole is if it might be cancerous. The majority of moles are harmless. If you ever worry one of your moles is cancerous, schedule an appointment at Park Avenue Dermatology for an evaluation by your dermatologist.
ABCDE Guidelines for Moles
Moles sometimes develop a dangerous form of cancer known as melanoma. As you examine your mole, use the easy-to-remember acronym ABCDE to check for signs of melanoma, or other irregularities:
A – Asymmetrical Shape. Are both halves of the mole similar?
B – Borders. You are looking for irregular borders.
C – Color. Have you noticed changes in color in the mole?
D – Diameter. Is the size greater than a quarter inch?
E – Evolving. Watch carefully for changes in your mole, especially if it turns black. Other changes include itchiness or bleeding, changes in color, size, and shape.
If you notice any of the ABCDE symptoms and signs, call your dermatologists like the team at Park Avenue Dermatology. Your dermatologist may recommend annual skin cancer screenings to check for abnormal moles.
Prevention and Awareness
In addition to self-exams and being aware of the warning signs for melanoma and mole changes, you can try to prevent UV exposure by wearing sunglasses and hats, applying sunscreen every day, year-round, and avoid being in direct sun during the peak exposure times of the day. Tanning beds also increase the risk of skin cancer. Contact your dermatologist if you have any concerns about your moles.