Moles are a commonly met problem and they come in different shapes and sizes. Even so, they are usually round dark spots which can be either flat or elevated. Generally speaking, moles are harmless, but in other cases they can pose a real threat to one’s life. Melanoma is a very aggressive form of skin cancer which kills millions of people on a yearly basis. Many people do not examine their bodies on a regular basis and this is why they discover they have melanoma when it is too late. This is the reason why it is essential to be aware of the main signs which may indicate the presence of melanoma.
Types Of Moles
Moles may look differently from one person to another. However, they all share some common characteristics: they are dark and round and their borders tend to be solid. Even so, there are moles which do not fall under this category:
- Congenital moles. These moles are present from the moment of birth and they are slightly more elongated compared to the regular mole. In a nutshell, congenital moles can be either very small (less than 0.6in in width) or giant (they can reach 7.9 inches in diameter or even more).
- Atypical moles. Wider than a pencil eraser, these moles have rough edges and they are irregular in shape. In addition, they may also have more than one colour and they may look blurry.
It must be mentioned that both the congenital and the atypical moles carry a very high risk of melanoma. This is why people who have these moles should have them checked periodically. This may be a difficult task, given the fact that some people have tens of moles on their body, but it may be a life saver!
The ABCDE Method
For those of you who want to stay safe and examine their moles on a regular basis, there is the well-known ABCDE method which helps you identify those with high risk of melanoma. This method is easy to use and to remember in the long run:
- A stands for Asymmetry. Is one side of the mole larger compared to the other side? If so, you sould have that mole checked as soon as possible;
- B stands for Border. The border of your moles should be solid and smooth. If you find moles with blurry borders, then know that this might indicate melanoma;
- C stands for Colour. If your moles have one uniform color, they are benign. Nonetheless, if they have patches or spots of brown, red, pink, blue or black, this should trigger an alarm!
- D stands for Diameter. Generally, moles are quite small in diameter and they should not be bigger than a pencil eraser. However, if they are bigger then they should be checked right away.
- E stands for Evolution. Do you have moles that have changed in shape, size or color over the past few month(s)? If so, you must have them checked as soon as possible, as this may be a sign of melanoma.