Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital Alert: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) information for patients and visitors LEARN MORE >>

How do I know if my moles cause cancer?

While moles are very common and rarely cause skin cancer, there are some which display malignant abnormalities, such as a change in color or bleeding.

The majority of the moles on our body develop in childhood, whereas some we are born with. Normal moles have even coloration, may be flat or raised and have a round or oval shape. They are typically smaller than 6 millimeters. It is rare for moles we already have to turn cancerous, as new moles are often problematic. Thereby, if you notice a new mole on your body, you should visit a dermatologist to examine it.

Even though only a dermatologist can identify a cancerous mole, there is the ABCDE rule which you may need to follow in order to discover whether a mole may be malignant:

  • A stands for asymmetry, so if one half of the mole does not look similar to the other, there may be a problem.
  • B stands for border, which is blurred, irregular or ragged in the case of malignant moles.
  • C stands for color, so if the mole has uneven coloration, it may be cancerous.
  • D stands for diameter, which means that moles larger than 6 millimeters are more likely to be cancerous than smaller ones.
  • E stands for evolving, a crucial aspect you should look for in a suspect mole.

However, there were cases in which moles did not have such abnormalities in appearance and were indeed cancerous, so visiting a dermatologist is the wisest decision if you feel something is wrong with a mole on your body. Other tell-tale signs you should look for include redness or swelling around a mole, change in sensation, which refers to itchiness or pain, a sore which does not seem to heal and changes in the surface of a mole, such as bleeding or scaliness.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/