When to Worry About A Mole?

When to Worry About A Mole?

We are all blessed with moles, some people more than others.  And moles come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. They are generally medium to dark brown but can also be skin-colored or black. The majority of moles are flat, relatively even in color and regular in shape. Some moles are raised and these are usually soft to touch and lighter in color.

When to Worry About A Mole Dermatologist Omaha?

As dermatologists in Omaha & Council Bluffs, we spend most of our day working with our patients and reviewing their worries and worrisome spots. From those experiences, we can provide a simple reference guide about moles and the warning signs. Before digging into that, we want to frame out this topic with what’s most important. When it comes to thinking about moles, there is one main worry at the forefront for everyone—melanoma.

Melanoma Skin Cancer Dermatologist Omaha

Melanoma is the third most common skin cancer, and it may arise from moles. This cancer can be very serious. The best dermatologists in Omaha spend much of their workday checking patients’ skin for potential problem moles and possible signs of melanoma or forms of skin cancer. Now on to the matter at hand—what should you be looking for in your moles?

Appearance of a Mole

In dermatology we have an extremely useful acronym tool that both we and our patients can use as a baseline test for moles.  This is the ABCDE rule. Like every simple litmus test, this rule isn’t 100% accurate.  However, it is sensitive enough to identify problem moles, which may be a melanoma.  If a mole breaks two or more of these rules, then it is very important to have it checked by a mole dermatologist Omaha or Council Bluffs.

‘A’ Stands for Asymmetry of Moles

Asymmetry means that a mole has a shape that is different from one side to another. Put a different way, if an imaginary line is drawn down the middle of a mole in any direction and the two halves that are created by this line don’t appear the same shape, the mole is asymmetrical.  An asymmetric mole flunks this test.

‘B’ Stands for Border of Moles

Smooth borders are best.  A mole with irregular borders, such as ones that are jagged, scalloped, or serrated flunks this test.

C’ is for Color of Moles

Two or more colors in a mole, and it flunks the color test.  Colors seen may include: lighter brown, darker brown, black, blue, red, gray, and white.  Moles should be one uniform color.

D’ is for the Diameter of a Mole

The greatest distance across it from side-to-side.  6mm or less is preferred.  Moles larger than this, which is roughly pencil eraser size, are abnormal.

‘E’ is for Evolution of a Mole

The one that has most recently been added to this set of rules. ‘E’ is evolution.  This is change in a mole over time. It may include growth in size, change in color, change in borders, or other alterations.

Remember, you should be especially worried about a mole that breaks two or more of these rules.

Mole Dermatologist Omaha Symptoms

This is especially tricky, because though healthy moles usually feel fine with no symptoms, most melanomas are also usually symptom free. That being said, any mole that is causing persistent symptoms should prompt you to see an Omaha dermatologist and get it checked. But we want to stress that just because a spot doesn’t bother you with a symptom doesn’t at all means it’s normal. We recommend getting a skin check to make sure your moles are harmless.

Changes in a Mole

This factor has now been incorporated into our ABCDE rule, as the ‘E’ for evolution.  We still want to mention it separately.  Behavior of moles in terms of change in their appearance is an important marker for deeper and possibly problematic microscopic changes within them, that may make seeking professional evaluation important.  However, at times the change in moles that are truly a problem may be so gradual that it may be nearly imperceptible.

A Few More Things to Think About

  1. If other members of your family have had skin cancer (especially melanoma) you should more strongly consider an office visit for your moles.
  2. You have a fair complexion (for example if you have a history of sunburns or sunburn easily), consider seeing a dermatologist.
  3. If you have spent a great deal of time outdoors, with exposure to sunlight, consider getting your skin and moles checked regularly by a professional.  This applies to outdoor workers, such as farmers, construction, and utility workers.  It also applies to those who are outside often for recreational activities, liking fishing, golfing, running, and boating.

Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands | Mole Dermatologist Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA | Board Certified Dermatologists

We hope this reference guide will help you in checking your moles. Remember if you still have a concern, all of our dermatology providers here at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands are here to help.  We have extensive experience in evaluating moles, performing skin biopsies and skin surgery, and treating skin cancers including melanoma.  Also, in our arsenal is a special device called a Dermlite.  This is a skin surface microscope which we use to examine the subsurface pigment pattern of moles. The simple and painless examination with this device can help make a more solid decision about whether a mole should be removed and tested microscopically.

For any information or to make an appointment please contact us today.