Malignant melanoma, which starts out as a mole, is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, killing almost 10,000 people each year. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can be almost any color; skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanomas are caused mainly by intense UV exposure.
What does a cancerous mole look like?
Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders. C is for Color. Multiple colors are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black.
Can you tell if a mole is cancerous by looking at it?
Examine Shape and Symmetry
No. “But having these types of moles is a risk factor for developing melanoma and, unfortunately, there’s no way to tell for sure if a mole is atypical or cancerous without visiting your dermatologist, so it’s important to stay on the lookout,” says Dr. McNeill.
What does a suspicious mole look like?
A mole that does not have the same color throughout or that has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red is suspicious. Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. A mole of many shades or that has lightened or darkened should be checked by a doctor.
Are melanomas flat or raised?
Usually melanomas develop in or around an existing mole. Signs and symptoms of melanoma vary depending on the exact type and may include: A flat or slightly raised, discolored patch with irregular borders and possible areas of tan, brown, black, red, blue or white (superficial spreading melanoma)
What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?
Stage 1: The cancer is up to 2 millimeters (mm) thick. It has not yet spread to lymph nodes or other sites, and it may or may not be ulcerated. Stage 2: The cancer is at least 1 mm thick but may be thicker than 4 mm. It may or may not be ulcerated, and it has not yet spread to lymph nodes or other sites.
What does early stage melanoma look like?
Color that is uneven: Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen. Diameter: There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than the size of a pea (larger than 6 millimeters or about 1/4 inch).
How can you tell if a spot is skin cancer?
See a board-certified dermatologist if you spot anything changing, itching, or bleeding on your skin. New, rapidly growing moles, or moles that itch, bleed, or change color are often early warning signs of melanoma and should be examined by a dermatologist.
Can you have a cancerous mole for years?
They can change or even disappear over the years, and very rarely can become skin cancers. Some research suggests that having more than 50 common moles may increase one’s risk of melanoma.
Can a mole change and not be cancer?
Short answer: Yes. “There are normal changes that can occur in moles,” Kohen says. “For example, moles on the face can start out as brown patches, and over time as we grow older, these moles can raise up, lose color and simply become flesh-colored bumps.” Moles can lighten or darken in color, and raise or flatten.
How do I know if my mole is bad?
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 the difference between a mole and melanoma?
The ABCDE checklist should help you tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma:
- Asymmetrical – melanomas usually have 2 very different halves and are an irregular shape.
- Border – melanomas usually have a notched or ragged border.
- Colours – melanomas will usually be a mix of 2 or more colours.
When should you worry about a mole?
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. So that’s what we check for.
Can you have melanoma for years and not know?
“You could have melanoma for a long time before you realize it, because some types are not so obvious. Some aggressive forms, like nodular melanoma, grow fast, are visible and can hurt or bleed.” While certain groups may be at a higher risk for melanoma, anyone can get the disease.
Why is my mole suddenly raised?
There are many reasons why moles can be raised, the main one being a healthy benign intradermal mole, which can be genetic, long standing, soft and sometimes wobbly to touch. They may lose colour or get darker with age. These types of moles should be monitored for drastic change, but generally aren’t cause for concern.
What happens if you pick a mole off?
Cutting off any growth increases your risk of infection, especially if the tool you use isn’t properly sanitized. You can also create a permanent scar where the mole once was. Another risk of removing a mole yourself is that you can’t tell if a mole is cancerous. A mole could be melanoma.