What Do Cancerous Moles Look Like?

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer? Approximately 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer each and every day, and more than 4 million Americans are affected by skin cancer annually.

At Stoll Dermatology in Beverly Hills, California, we want you to know that early detection can catch skin cancer, making treatment faster and easier and stopping the cancer from spreading. In fact, knowing what to keep an eye out for when it comes to moles and your skin could mean the difference between undergoing a quick procedure or battling cancer. 

David Stoll, MD, is a highly skilled board-certified dermatologist with years of experience diagnosing and treating different skin cancers. If you’re concerned about a mole or spot on your skin, our dedicated team of experts can help. We’ve put together this informative article to help you learn what cancerous moles look like.

What are moles?

Moles are the byproduct of a disorder in the pigment-producing cells of your skin. Although moles can develop at any point, they usually appear in childhood or during early adulthood. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be raised or flat and smooth or wrinkled. While color can vary, moles are most commonly brown. 

Moles can exist anywhere on your body, can change appearance, or fade over time. While most moles are harmless, they can also be related to certain skin cancers.  

What do cancerous moles look like?

Moles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. This variation can make it tricky to tell what’s normal. Fortunately, if you know your alphabet, you can remember what to look for when checking moles for cancer.

“A” for asymmetrical

Most moles grow in a symmetrical shape. When one part of the mole grows differently and doesn’t match the shape of the rest of the mole, it could indicate something more serious.

“B” for border

Healthy moles typically have a defined border. Borders that are irregular, notched, or blurred should be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist. 

“C” for color

While it’s true that moles come in a variety of colors, the color of each mole should be consistent. If you spot a mole with inconsistent coloring or with pink, red, white, or blue spots, it could indicate a problem.

“D” for diameter

Be on the lookout for moles larger than a quarter-inch across. Smaller moles are more likely to be benign. However, moles of any size can be cancerous, making an annual skin check vital for your health. 

“E” for evolving

Moles are generally stable. If you see noticeable changes in existing moles, such as a shift in their shape, size, texture, or color, schedule an evaluation. 

If you believe a mole looks suspicious, schedule an appointment promptly. The earlier Dr. Stoll evaluates your skin and any curious-looking moles, the better the odds for a successful treatment should it turn out to be cancerous. 

Can cancerous moles be removed?

Before removing any moles, Dr. Stoll performs a skin cancer screening. He looks for anything suspicious, such as moles that have significantly changed or appear abnormal. Dr. Stoll helps you stand guard against cancerous moles by increasing your awareness of spots you should be watching. 

To determine if a mole is cancerous or benign, Dr. Stoll removes a small portion of it for a biopsy. Biopsies are the most effective way of diagnosing skin cancer. Your treatment depends on the results of any biopsy. 

To remove a cancerous mole, Dr. Stoll numbs the area and cuts away the mole and some extra tissue layers surrounding it. Some cancers can penetrate into the deep layers of skin and may require more extensive surgery.

If you’re worried about an existing mole or want to learn more about what cancerous moles look like, the experts at Stoll Dermatology can help. Schedule a screening now by calling our Beverly Hills office or booking an appointment online.

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