6 Signs You Should Get Your Mole Checked Out
Around one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point during their lives — a fact that public awareness campaigns will definitely have driven home already. When you discover a new mole, it is normal to be scared, and perhaps even to panic a little.
Moles are completely normal, and while most develop during childhood and adolescence, new moles do appear from time to time. Common moles — harmless moles — generally have a diameter smaller than five millimeters, and have a symmetrical and smooth appearance, in contrast to the kinds of moles you are born with, which can be much larger.
Whether you have recently noticed a new mole, or a mole you have had for years has visibly started to change, it is important to pay close attention. When should you get a mole checked out by a dermatologist?
Red Flags Nobody Should Ignore
Most moles are normal and harmless. If your mole has any of the following features, on the other hand, it is time to seek medical attention. A dermatologist will be able to further examine your mole, and order a biopsy where needed.
Common moles are symmetrical — they look the same on both sides. If one side of your mole looks completely different than the opposing side, have it checked out.
Common moles have distinct and sharp, smooth, borders — it is easy to see where the mole ends, and the rest of your skin begins. Concerning moles often have blurred, wavy, or irregular edges, on the other hand. If your mole has irregular borders, see a doctor.
If your mole has multiple shades, rather than one consistent color throughout, that is another cause for concern. One part of the mole may be significantly darker, or there may be “splotches” of different shades.
A Larger Diameter
Normal acquired moles (that is, moles that appear after birth) typically measure five millimeters or less in diameter. If a new mole is larger than that, or if a mole you already had has grown, it is time to get it checked out.
Your Mole is Changing
Although new moles can appear later in life, it is not normal for moles to continually grow, or to change shape or appearance. Watch out for growth, moles that are elevated above the skin’s surface, changing borders, or pigment changes.
In addition, moles should not bleed, persistently itch, or cause pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, get your mole checked out.
I Have a Scary Mole: Is it Time to Panic, Yet?
Try not to panic. Instead, be proactive and make an appointment with a dermatologist now. If you receive good news, you will be able to stop fretting about your mole — but if your mole indeed turns out to be melanoma or another form of skin cancer, timely diagnosis leads to timely treatment.
Should your mole be completely benign but you would prefer not to have it, removal is quick and non-invasive.
The Dermatology and Laser Group
Our laser dermatology clinic, located in the heart of Midtown, is here to assist with all of your mole and cosmetic concerns. We are fully equipped with the latest technology, and Dr. Arash Akhavan has been a New York Top Doctors for 5 years consecutively.
Call us today to schedule an appointment! Our phone number is (212) 444-8204.