When Should You Have A Mole Checked By A Dermatologist?

Posted on: 17 November 2020

Moles are areas of skin that contain excess pigmentation. Moles can be flat or raised. They can vary in color from red to dark brown. In many cases, moles are no cause for concern. However, moles can sometimes indicate the presence of skin cancer. You can keep yourself safe by having your moles checked by a dermatologist. Here are four occasions when you should have a mole checked:

1. Your mole is large or growing.

Small moles are less likely to be cancerous. In general, moles that are the diameter of a pencil eraser or smaller are no cause for concern. One exception to this guideline is a mole that has been rapidly changing. If a small mole begins to grow, it may be cancerous. Large or growing moles should be assessed by a dermatologist at your earliest convenience.

2. Your mole is an uneven color.

Moles can be different colors, but benign moles usually have an even color throughout. Moles that feature uneven coloration are a cause for alarm. If your mole is darker in some areas, you should have it checked by a dermatologist. 

3. Your mole has blurry or asymmetrical borders.

Benign moles are typically round and symmetrical in appearance. If your mole has an asymmetrical border, that could be a sign of trouble. Have asymmetrical moles evaluated by a dermatologist. Moles with blurry, indistinct borders are also a cause for concern.

4. Your mole is painful.

Most moles cause no pain or discomfort. If your mole suddenly begins hurting, you should have it checked by a doctor at once. Pain can be a sign of skin cancer. However, even benign moles may grow painful over time. Fortunately, your dermatologist can perform mole removal surgery to eliminate painful moles. This procedure will be performed using local anesthesia. Once the mole has been excised from your skin, it will be sent to a laboratory where a biopsy will be conducted to test for the presence of cancer.

Performing home mole checks on yourself is an excellent way to stay aware of your skin health. Keep track of changes in your skin so you can alert your dermatologist to potential signs of trouble. Some dermatologists recommend that patients see them on an annual basis. Your doctor can monitor your existing moles for changes that may indicate a problem. An ongoing relationship with your dermatologist will help you detect skin cancer as soon as possible. Contact a dermatologist for more information regarding mole checks.