When it is found early, skin cancer can be one of the most effectively treated types of cancer that you can be afflicted with. When it comes to early detection, you need to know what to look for. Sure, most of us have a mole or two (or more) on our body somewhere, but how do you know if it is a harmless mole or something more serious and cancerous?
Given that skin cancer can visibly manifest itself in many different types of moles, it is best that you visit a dermatologist or a physician to get a proper checkup and diagnosis to take a look at moles and lumps on your skin. If you want to give yourself a quick look, however, we’ll take this time to go into detail on what to look for in determining if it is a cancerous mole or not.
How Does a Cancerous Mole Look?
Again, if you want to get an exact determination of what you have on your skin, whether it is safe or not, consult a medical professional. When taking a look at yourself (and you may need a partner to help take a look at any that you may have on your back or other hard to see places), then these are the kinds of things that you should be looking for.
Perhaps just as important as knowing what a cancerous mole looks like, it is just important (and perhaps even easier) to identify what a normal mole looks like so you know that you don’t have to worry about it. Normal moles, for the most part, tend to be evenly colored with a brown color, and can be lighter like a tan shade. They can also be a black spot on the skin. These moles can either be flat or raised, oval or round. They are generally about the size of a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch across). They, for the most part, stay the same size and shape and color for many years. For more information, see how moles form in this post.
A couple of normal moles may look like the following:
On the other hand, there are telltale signs to look for when you are wondering if a mole is cancerous. A handy mnemonic device that you can use is the ABCDE rule. these stand for:
- Asymmetry: one half of the mole does not look like the other
- Border: the edges of the mole are not smooth, they are blurry or irregular
- Color: the color differs from area to area; different shades of brown or black are present; there may be splotches of pink, red, white or blue
- Diameter: larger than a normal mole mentioned above (larger than 1/4 inch across)
- Evolving: the mole has changed in shape, size, and color
On top of these factors in the ABCDE rule, there are a few other things to monitor. Other signs of a cancerous mole are that it develops a sore that doesn’t heal. it may also have some redness and swelling creeping out around the border of the mole. Be cognizant of it having an itching sensation, or tender to the touch.
A few examples of the above irregularities are illustrated below, along with identification of the type of skin cancer they represent:
Now that you know what to look for, give your body a close examination to determine if the moles you have are normal or a sign of something more serious. When in doubt on any of them, seek the diagnosis of a medical professional. Skin cancer is no joke, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you have a mole you would like to safely remove from the comfort of home, check out our SkinPro Extreme Skin Tag & Mole Remover – see this page for more information.