Know Your Marks: How to Understand Your Suspicious Looking Moles

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Suspicious Moles: How to Spot Them & What to Do

When self-monitoring your suspicious moles, you’ll want to consider the shape, color, and size to help understand if it is a mole or skin cancer. If you find a mole that falls under the description of melanoma, it’s critical that you make an appointment with your physician to get it checked out. Keep in mind that only a doctor is able to diagnose if any of your suspicious moles are a sign of melanoma. Proper diagnosis will require a biopsy following removal of part or all of your suspicious moles.

Here are some criteria to help you determine if you have any suspicious moles and other signs of skin cancer that might put you at risk of developing melanoma.

Common Moles

Common moles are not cancerous. Normal or common moles typically appear in childhood or by young adulthood. They are usually round and regular in shape and are smaller than the width of a pencil eraser (under 5 millimeters wide). They can be flat or raised from the surrounding skin, but are smooth in texture. The mole itself will have a distinct edge. Common moles are tan, brown, or a shade of pink and uniform in color; people with darker skin or hair tend to have darker moles. Common moles, like freckles, can be caused by sun exposure.

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