22 Aug Moles are More Complicated than ABCDE
For many years, dermatologists have warned patients about the ABCDEs of moles: Asymmetry, border irregularity, a color that is not uniform, a diameter of greater than six millimeters, and evolving size, color, or shape. Spectrum Dermatology still encourages everyone to keep an eye on the alphabet of mole rules, but there are additional, lesser-known signs of atypical moles and skin cancer to keep an eye on.
How Skin Cancer Develops
Skin cancer happens when abnormal skin cells grow uncontrolled. Genetics is a component, but UV rays from the sun are the leading cause of skin cancer. Checking skin monthly for changes is a good idea in addition to annual or bi-annual skin checks (based on a dermatologist recommendation).
Moles that are flat and dark may be a red flag. Surprisingly, most dangerous moles are flat—not raised. Some types of skin cancer usually present as raised, such as basal cell carcinoma, and can often look nearly the same color as the rest of the skin. Location of moles also matters, with many melanomas forming on areas of the feet or between the fingers.
Sometimes skin cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma, presents similarly to eczema. It’s easy for a patient to be misdiagnosed. If “eczema” does not go away, it is essential to get a second opinion. Skin cancer can also look like bug bites that never fade. Anything on the skin that lasts longer than a month should be examined.
When To Get A Mole Checked By A Professional
If a mole or bump bleeds, it is worth getting checked. However, raised skin bumps can get easily scratched and cause harmless bleeding. Blood is not always a sign of skin cancer but should be checked by a dermatologist. Additional potential red flags include bumps that look pearl-colored, strange and sudden scars or oddly colored moles. In some cases, melanoma is pink or skin-colored, not black or brown.
Schedule an Annual Skin Exam Today at Spectrum Dermatology
Everyone should schedule regular mole checks at least once per year. If you have not received your annual mole check, or have an area that worries you, call Spectrum Dermatology today at 480-948-8400 and schedule an appointment.