Picture this for a moment. You wake up one morning and as you navigate through your morning routine, you notice a mole that hadn’t been there before. Questions begin to flood your mind. Is it cancerous? Is it a cyst? Is it just a regular mole? Should I be worried? These are all reasonable questions, so let’s find some answers.
Before we can discern whether or not a mole is worth evaluating, we first need to educate ourselves regarding what moles really are. The word “mole” is a colloquial term used to describe any form of a nevus. So what is a nevus? A nevus is a medical term applied to any visible abnormality on the skin. The terms “mole” and “nevus” are nonspecific. One must classify the mole in order to determine its threat level. It is important to know that the majority of moles are benign and rarely cause harm.
There are two main categories of moles; acquired moles and congenital moles. Congenital moles are the ones you are born with, while acquired moles are ones that appear later in life. Within these two categories are dozens of types of moles and of those batches, they are further broken down based on location, pigmentation, size, shape, and even whether or not they sprout hair. As you can see, it would be silly to be deeply concerned about a mole at first glance. Notwithstanding, there are signs to bear in mind in order to make sure your mole isn’t problematic.
1) Is it Asymmetrical?
Most moles are uniform and symmetrical, meaning that both halves of the mole look exactly the same. But if your mole is misshapen on either side, discolored on one side, or in any way different, have it evaluated since this is abnormal.
2) Strange Edges?
The edges of a mole should be smooth and complete. If they are in any way blurry, fading, or not smooth, get it checked.
3) Is it a Funny Color?
Moles can have more or less pigmentation than your skin. This is normal. However, if the color of the mole is uneven or has specks of various colors (not the same color as the mole), this could be reason for alarm.
4) Is it Large?
Any mole that is larger than a small marble should be closely monitored. This doesn’t mean that you’re in any danger, but watch the mole to see if it grows. If it enlarges over time, get it looked at.
5) Any Changes?
These changes can be anything – changes in size, shape, color, if it becomes sore to the touch, or if it splits open or bleeds. Any of these changes should be evaluated as soon as possible.
Moles can be just about anything and they aren’t always a cause for concern. At The Dermatology Group, we’ll take care of any of your worries and offer you advice, resources, and possible treatment. If you are in Cincinnati, Ohio or any of the surrounding cities, please do not hesitate to give us a call.