How do I know if my mole is bad?

If you look at a benign, or harmless, mole, it is usually symmetrical. On the other hand, a worrisome mole is asymmetrical, meaning if you cut in half, the two sides do not look the same. Benign moles typically have a regular, round border. Cancerous moles tend to have irregular borders.

What is a cancerous mole look like?

Border that is irregular: The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin. Color that is uneven: Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.

When should I be worried about a mole?

The vast majority of moles are not dangerous. Moles that are more likely to be cancer are those that look different than other existing moles or those that first appear after age 25. If you notice changes in a mole’s color, height, size, or shape, you should have a dermatologist (skin doctor) evaluate it.

How do you tell if a mole needs to be checked out?

It’s important to get a new or existing mole checked out if it:

  1. changes shape or looks uneven.
  2. changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours.
  3. starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding.
  4. gets larger or more raised from the skin.
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What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?

Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.

What does Stage 1 melanoma mean?

In Stage I melanoma, the cancer cells are in both the first and second layers of the skin—the epidermis and the dermis. A melanoma tumor is considered Stage I if it is up to 2 mm thick, and it may or may not have ulceration. There is no evidence the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or distant sites (metastasis).

How quickly can a mole turn cancerous?

Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.

What is a suspicious mole?

Border that is irregular: The edges of suspicious moles are ragged, notched or blurred in outline, while healthy moles tend to have more even borders. The pigment of the mole may also spread into the surrounding skin. Color that is uneven: The mole may have various colors present, including black, brown and tan.

Why should you never pick a mole?

If you pick a mole it may start bleeding and lead to further discomfort. Picking a mole does not make it cancerous therefore individuals should not be alarmed if a mole is picked. Excessively picking a mole may prolong the mole healing process, causing an irregular shape which may resemble a melanoma.

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