Ask the Nurse; How can I tell if a mole is abnormal?

November 1, 2017

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp and soles of the feet. Even under the fingernail. See your doctor for a full-body skin cancer screening. Skin cancer has a high cure rate if treated early. The most common sign is a visible change on the skin. A new growth or change in an existing mole. Use the ABCDE’s of melanoma when checking.

A. Asymmetry: One half doesn’t match the other half.

B. Border: The borders are poorly defined or irregular.

C. Color: The color is not the same throughout or has different shades.

D. Diameter: The mole is larger than a pencil eraser.

E. Evolution: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

The earlier you are seen by a dermatologist, the better chance of early diagnosis and treatment.

  1. Use a mirror to examine your body from head to toe. Use a mirror to see areas which are difficult to see. Have a friend check areas you are not able to reach.
  2. Pay special attention to areas exposed to the sun.
  3. Check your scalp and neck for moles.
  4. Develop a mental note to keep record of all the moles and what they look like.

If your moles do change or begin to look suspicious, see your dermatologist.

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