Moles are common. Almost every adult has a few of them. Most moles appear on the skin during childhood and adolescence. Moles will grow as the child (or teen) grows. It’s also important to know that moles can appear anywhere on the skin. They can develop on your scalp, between your fingers and toes, on the soles and palms, and even under your nails.
A normal mole on your body usually has these traits:
- One color – Often brown, but a mole can be tan, black, red, pink, blue, skin-toned, or colorless.
- Symmetric in shape.
- Flat or raised.
- Unchanged from month to month.
New moles and changes to existing moles can be a sign of melanoma. Caught early, melanoma is highly treatable.
Melanoma, one of the most serious skin cancers, differs from moles in that it tends to show one or more of the following traits:
A = Asymmetry. One half is unlike the other.
B = Border. An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
C = Color. Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black; is sometimes white, red, or blue.
D = Diameter. Melanoma are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller. Some dermatologists feel the “D” should represent dark color, although amelanotic melanomas may appear as pink spots or bumps in the skin.
E = Evolving. A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
If you see a mole or new spot on your skin that has any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, immediately make an appointment to see Dr. Kittridge, a board-certified dermatologist.