Know Your Moles
Moles and birthmarks are pigmented spots or patches of skin with various colors. Many people have moles, but it is important to get to know your moles so you can recognize if they change. Though most moles and birthmarks are harmless, if they show any of the following warning signs they should be examined by a dermatologist: larger than a pencil eraser; itches or bleeds; rapid change in color, size, or shape; has multiple colors; is located where it is difficult to monitor, such as on the scalp.
The ABCDE system to evaluate moles was developed as a warning system for melanoma:
- Asymmetry: one half of the mole is different than the other half
- Border: a mole with irregular, scalloped, or jagged borders
- Color: often have multiple colors or dark, variegated colors
- Diameter: moles larger than a pencil eraser (6 mm)
- Evolving: any growing, changing, or symptomatic mole