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5 Ways to Determine If You Should See a Dermatologist for a Suspicious-Looking Mole

5 Ways to Determine If You Should See a Dermatologist for a Suspicious-Looking Mole

  • Admin
  • May 02, 2018

If you are like a lot of people, you may have discovered a mole on your body that looks odd or has changed noticeably. This discovery may make you wonder if you need to see a dermatologist to determine if the mole is cancerous or needs to be removed. Knowing why skin examination is important and learning how to use the ABCDE method to decide if you should see a dermatologist are wise ways to remain healthy.

The Importance of Examining Your Skin

Almost everyone has a few freckles, skin tags or moles on their skin, and most are innocuous. But changes in moles can indicate melanoma. This is a type of skin cancer, and it can be serious if you don't seek medical attention in a timely manner. If the melanoma is detected early on, it can usually be treated with a simple in-office surgery.

Examine the skin on your entire body every few months for changes in moles. Use a mirror or ask a loved one to assist you by taking a picture of any suspicious moles on your back or another body part you can't see easily.

Determining if You Should See a Dermatologist

The questions that you should ask yourself about a suspicious-looking mole include:

  1. Is the mole asymmetrical? This means that the shape is uneven or lopsided.
  2. Does the mole have irregular borders? Benign -- or harmless -- moles generally have even borders that are smooth.
  3. Does the mole contain two or more colors? Typically, a harmless -- or benign -- mole is a light brown color. A melanoma may have a couple of shades of brown or a black, red, white or even pink color in it. It can also contain blue or purple colors.
  4. Is the diameter larger than 6mm or bigger than the size of a pencil eraser? If so, it could possibly be cancerous. Smaller moles are often benign.
  5. Is the mole enlarging over time or becoming elevated? Does it have a raised surface? The E can also stand for evolution; is it changing over time?

If any of these symptoms appear, it is important to seek the advice of a dermatologist. The professional will examine any moles on your body that are causing concern and may remove it if it is questionable. He will send the specimen to a lab to be evaluated. This procedure is simple and relatively painless, and it will give you peace of mind.

Sources:

https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma

https://www.skincareguide.com/article/skin-conditions/other-conditions/what-does-melanoma-look-like-checking-moles-for-abcde

https://www.melanoma.org/understand-melanoma/diagnosing-melanoma/detection-screening/abcdes-melanoma

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