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Mole or Melanoma?

Although most moles are harmless, it is essential to learn how to identify them

Mole or Melanoma?

Moles are brown or black spots or small bumps of various shapes and sizes on the skin. They are very typical and result from the accumulation of cells that color the skin, called melanocytes, clumping together.

Most adults have moles, as they are very common. The average adult has between 10 and 40 moles, especially if they have light skin color and are frequently exposed to the sun.

Although most moles are harmless, it is essential to identify which moles are atypical because there is a potential risk of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

The best way to beat melanoma is to detect it early. It is crucial to consult your Dermatologist or Oncologist when you notice abnormal changes in a mole.

ABCDE rule

For this, there is the ABCDE rule. This alphabet can alert you and help you distinguish a normal Mole from a Melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: One half is different from the other half.

  • Irregular edges: Jagged, blurred, and irregular edges.

  • Color: Multiple colors, uneven color, color changes; the most dangerous colors are reddish, whitish, and bluish.

  • Diameter: when the size of a mole increases to more than 6 millimeters (¼ inch).

  • Evolution: The mole experiences changes in size, shape, color, height, and especially symptoms such as itching or bleeding.

What do I do if I have atypical or suspicious moles?

Keep a monthly check on your skin, examine yourself in front of a mirror to check:

  • Your palms

  • Your scalp

  • The back of your hands

  • The back of your neck

  • Behind your ears 

  • Between your fingers and toes

  • The soles of your feet

This way, you can keep track of any new places where a mole has appeared and check them often for changes. Any suspicious or changing spots or moles are grounds for an immediate visit to your Dermatologist or Oncologist.

And although the good news is that most moles are benign and numerous atypical ones don't turn into cancer, some do. So, if your Dermatologist finds out you have melanoma, members of your immediate family should probably be examined by an Oncologist as well.



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