What does it mean when you have an abnormal mole?
During a skin cancer screening exam your dermatologist may find an abnormal mole. An abnormal mole could be a melanoma symptom, or it could be benign, meaning it’s not cancerous. To determine what type of cells make up the mole, the dermatologist will remove the mole for a biopsy.
Is an abnormal mole always cancer?
While atypical moles are considered to be pre-cancerous (more likely to turn into melanoma than regular moles), not everyone who has atypical moles gets melanoma. In fact, most moles — both ordinary and atypical ones — never become cancerous.
What are the signs of an abnormal mole?
It’s important to get a new or existing mole checked out if it:
- changes shape or looks uneven.
- changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours.
- starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding.
- gets larger or more raised from the skin.
Can you tell if a mole is cancerous by looking at it?
No. “But having these types of moles is a risk factor for developing melanoma and, unfortunately, there’s no way to tell for sure if a mole is atypical or cancerous without visiting your dermatologist, so it’s important to stay on the lookout,” says Dr. McNeill.
When is a mole suspicious?
A mole that does not have the same color throughout or that has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red is suspicious. Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. A mole of many shades or that has lightened or darkened should be checked by a doctor.
Can you have a cancerous mole for years?
They can change or even disappear over the years, and very rarely can become skin cancers. Some research suggests that having more than 50 common moles may increase one’s risk of melanoma.
What do non cancerous moles look like?
While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colors red, white or blue may also appear. D is for Diameter and Dark.
Can a mole look like melanoma but be benign?
Funny-looking moles may look like melanoma but are actually harmless (benign) spots that don’t need to be removed. However, if you have a few, particularly five or more of these funny-looking moles, your chance of getting a melanoma is increased.
What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?
Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.
Should atypical moles be removed?
Atypical moles should be removed when they have features suggestive of malignant transformation. Elliptical excision is the preferred removal technique. Removing all atypical moles is neither necessary nor cost effective.
What kind of moles are cancerous?
Malignant melanoma, which starts out as a mole, is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, killing almost 10,000 people each year. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can be almost any color; skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanomas are caused mainly by intense UV exposure.