How do I know if a Mole is Cancerous?
Skin moles are generally classified in three different types:
- Atypical moles or dysplastic nevi. These moles are the largest of the three types and have a characteristic irregular shape and color. These moles are hereditary or genetic moles that may have an increased risk for developing into a cancerous lesion.
- Congenital moles or congenital nevus. These moles are present at birth and may be at a risk of developing into cancerous lesions. Around 1% of people have these moles from their birth.
- Acquired moles. These moles are the most common type of moles, developed throughout childhood or early adulthood. Acquired moles remain smaller than a quarter inch, and typically appear after excessive exposure to the sun. These moles typically don’t develop into cancerous lesions.
If you have concerns about your mole, a skin doctor or our dermatologist San Diego can assist you. A suspicious looking skin lesion like a mole can be considered a sign of malignant melanoma, one of the more life-threatening forms of skin cancer.
If you are considering adermatologist in San Diego they will recommend to examine your skin regularly to check for irregular or new skin moles. You can also see a dermatologist for regular checkups and evaluations of your skin, if you have a family history of moles or harbor a large amount of moles on the surface of your skin.
To tell if a mole or strange skin lesion is cancerous, doctors and/or dermatologists in San Diego use a technique called the five steps or the ABCDEs of the condition melanoma:
- Asymmetry, or if one side of your mole doesn’t look like its opposing side.
- Border or irregular border, if the border of your skin lesion looks irregular or poorly defined.
- Colors that vary, or if your mole have more than one shade of color, like brown, black or red.
- Diameter, or if your mole has a diameter larger than that of a pencil eraser.
- Evolution, if any part of your mole changes or evolves over time.
A doctor or dermatologist in San Diego will remove a suspicious skin mole if it fits any of the criteria above. Many serious skin conditions, like melanoma, are diagnosed after having the suspicious skin and/or tissue examined by a pathologist.