When do you need to see a doctor about your moles?
Nearly every person has at least one mole. Few moles raise concerns about melanoma or other problems. However, if you can’t tell an atypical mole from a common mole, you don’t know when you need to call a doctor.
So when should you reach out to your doctor to schedule an appointment for an irregular mole?
When the Mole Gets Bigger Than a Pencil Eraser
Small moles rarely suggest a high risk of skin cancer. A mole larger than a pencil eraser (about a quarter of an inch), however, needs a closer look.
Normally, moles stay about the same size throughout your life. If you notice that one of your moles has gotten significantly larger, take it as skin cancer warning.
When One Side of the Mole Looks Different From the Other Side
Common moles look the same from every direction. If you were to place a mirror in the middle of the mole, the reflection should look like the other side.
Moles with atypical shapes and colors raise serious concerns. Important things to look for include:
• Moles with asymmetrical shapes.
• Moles with uneven borders.
• Moles that are darker or lighter on their edges.
• Moles that have dark centers and light edges.
• Moles with color variations throughout.
Healthy moles usually have consistent color and shape. Anything irregular deserves a diagnostic test for skin cancer.
When the Mole Changes Color
Moles come in many shapes and colors. Moles can vary from light pink to dark brown. Your skin pigment can affect the color of your moles. If you have dark skin, then there’s a good chance that your moles also have a dark pigment.
Nothing about a mole’s color suggests that you’re one of the million Americans living with melanoma. A darker mole doesn’t put you at a higher risk.
Changes in the mole’s color, however, may suggest that you have skin cancer or another problem.
Although having darker skin or mole pigment doesn’t put you at a higher risk of cancer, people of color are less likely to survive melanoma than Caucasians with light skin. Keep this in mind if you have dark skin. Pay particular attention to areas that don’t get much sun exposure, such as the soles of your feet, inside your mouth, and the palms of your hands.
When Something About the Mole Just Doesn’t Seem Right
Sometimes, a mole just doesn’t look right. When you see it on your body, you stop to take a second look. Something about the mole makes you worry.
If you feel uncomfortable about a mole, don’t take any risks. Get it checked!
People who detect melanoma early have a 99% chance of living for at least 5 years. The survival rate falls quickly, though, over time. Getting treated within 30 days of a biopsy almost guarantees your survival. Waiting 30 to 59 days lowers the survival rate by 5%. Waiting for more than 119 days puts your risk 41% higher than someone who gets immediate treatment.
Schedule an Appointment to Get Your Moles Checked
If you notice any of the above signs, you should get your moles checked by a doctor. Schedule an appointment with Horizon Primary Care. Our team can perform a wellness exam and diagnostic tests.
The sooner you get abnormal moles diagnosed by a doctor, the easier it is to treat any underlying concerns. Early detection could stand between you and a serious illness like melanoma.