Many of us prefer the term ‘beauty mark’ for moles located on the face, neck, shoulder, and collarbone due to its positive visual effect on a person’s appearance. But did you know that some moles may either disguise or develop into the most dangerous form of skin cancer called melanoma? In this short article, we will talk about moles and when to watch out for them.
Let’s start first with what a normal and irregular mole looks like.
Typical (normal) mole
- Same colour throughout—usually brown, tan or black
- May be perfectly flat or raised, or have hairs growing from them
- Vary in size, but generally less than 6mm
- Symmetrical, if you draw a line down the middle, both sides will look the same
- Has well-defined, regular border
Atypical (irregular) mole
- Has irregular shapes and asymmetrical
- Has irregular border
- Often bigger than other moles (bigger than 6mm)
- Inconsistent colour—for example, a brown and tan with a pink background
Atypical moles appearing on your skin isn’t a good sign. Individuals with even a few atypical moles have an increased risk for melanoma.
Now that you have an idea about the difference between a normal and an atypical mole (and the risk of having it), the question that’s probably on your mind is…
When should you worry about a mole?
One important thing to know is that the vast majority of moles are not dangerous, but if you notice that your mole:
- Has irregular borders and asymmetrical
- Changes colour or has unusual colours
- Changing shape or growing
- Feels itchy and painful
- Has a sore that doesn’t heal
You should have your skin checked by a doctor. A mole may look harmless, but it may either disguise or develop into life-threatening cancer.
Early detection of melanoma is vital to increasing chances for cure. If you have suspicions about your mole, you can contact us, and we’ll help you find the specialists you need.
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