When To See a Dermatologist for a Mole
By Rio Grande Dermatology
February 18, 2021
Category: Skin Care
Worried that all those years of sunbathing have caught up with you? Do you have a family history of skin cancer? If so, these might be reasons to turn to a dermatologist every year for skin cancer screenings. These dermatology screenings can help us catch cancerous lesions early on when they are highly treatable. Of course, you should also be performing your own monthly examinations, checking your skin from head to scalp, to look for skin cancer. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for,
Remember Your ABCDEs
This easy-to-remember acronym will help you spot those signs of skin cancer whenever you examine moles yourself. This is what it stands for,
- A is for asymmetry: A healthy mole will be perfectly circular and symmetrical. If you find that half of the mole is shaped differently from the other half, this could be a sign of pre-cancerous growth.
- B is for a border: A healthy mole will have a clearly defined border. If the mole has a jagged or an even or poorly defined border, it’s time to visit your dermatologist.
- C is for color: A healthy mole will remain a singular color throughout your life. If the mole changes color or develops multiple colors this could be a sign of skin cancer.
- D is for diameter: A healthy mole is typically smaller than a pencil eraser (under 5mm). Moles over 5mm, or larger than a pencil eraser, may be cause for concern. Large moles warrant seeing a dermatologist.
- E is for evolving: A healthy mole will remain the same over the course of your lifetime. So, if you notice it changing at all then it’s worth having a dermatologist look at it.
Lookout for These Moles, Too
Along with remembering your ABCDEs, it’s also a good idea to look for,
- New moles: Just because you develop a new mole doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s cancerous; however, if you start noticing any new moles developing past the age of 20 (particularly on the face, neck, shoulder, or other sun-exposed areas), this warrants an evaluation with a skincare professional.
- Troublesome moles: Do you have a mole that bleeds, itches, crusts over, or is painful or tender? If so, the mole should be checked out.
If you have a growth that has you concerned, a skin doctor can easily examine and biopsy the growth to determine if it’s cancerous. If it is, we offer a variety of treatment options that can remove the cancerous growth and help you get back to living your life.