If you have any moles that are larger than most, have smudgy or irregular edges, are uneven in colour or have some pinkness, you should see a doctor and get them checked. Any moles that appear newly in adulthood should be checked. The most concerning sign, however, is a changing mole.
When should you get a mole checked out?
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.
How can you tell if a mole is dangerous?
Redness or new swelling beyond the border of a mole. Color that spreads from the border of a spot into surrounding skin. Itching, pain, or tenderness in an area that doesn’t go away or goes away then comes back. Changes in the surface of a mole: oozing, scaliness, bleeding, or the appearance of a lump or bump.
Can a doctor tell if a mole is cancerous just by looking at it?
Unfortunately, you can’t tell by looking at a mole whether it’s cancerous or what type it is. It could very well be a normal skin spot with an abnormal appearance. A dermatologist can’t always tell the difference either.
Does my mole look cancerous?
If you look at a benign, or harmless, mole, it is usually symmetrical. On the other hand, a worrisome mole is asymmetrical, meaning if you cut in half, the two sides do not look the same. Benign moles typically have a regular, round border. Cancerous moles tend to have irregular borders.
How quickly does melanoma spread?
Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.
When should I be concerned about a mole on my child?
If a mole bleeds without reason, however, it should be checked. A mole that looks like an open sore is also worrisome. Bleeding or a break in the skin can be a sign of melanoma. Bottom line: If your child has a mole that starts to bleed or looks like an open sore, a dermatologist should examine the mole.
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.
What does a cancerous mole feel like?
Also, when melanoma develops in an existing mole, the texture of the mole may change and become hard or lumpy. The skin lesion may feel different and may itch, ooze, or bleed, but a melanoma skin lesion usually does not cause pain.
What does Stage 1 melanoma mean?
In Stage I melanoma, the cancer cells are in both the first and second layers of the skin—the epidermis and the dermis. A melanoma tumor is considered Stage I if it is up to 2 mm thick, and it may or may not have ulceration. There is no evidence the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or distant sites (metastasis).
Does melanoma show up in routine blood work?
Blood tests. Blood tests aren’t used to diagnose melanoma, but some tests may be done before or during treatment, especially for more advanced melanomas. Doctors often test blood for levels of a substance called lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) before treatment.
Can a mole look cancerous but not be?
A dysplastic or atypical nevus is a benign (noncancerous) mole that is not a malignant melanoma (cancerous), but has an unusual appearance and/or microscopic features.