Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can i tell if i need to get a mole looked at?"
I recently discovered a mole on my back, I have a few on other parts of my body, do I need to be worried about it. I don't think I am at risk for skin cancer, I don't spend a lot of time outside, and when I am outside for an extended period of time I make sure to wear sunblock. From what I can see in the mirror the mole looks about the same as the other ones I have, should I get this checked out? what exactly is a mole?
You are absolutely correct that the best ways to protect against skin cancer are to avoid prolonged sun exposure and to wear sun screen when you are out in the sun to protect your skin, so make sure to keep that up! Other than that, it is quite common to 'discover' new moles, especially in areas that are hard to see such as the back. The mole may in fact have been there for some time, but you could just be noticing it now. Nevertheless, all moles should be watched closely because of the small chance that they could turn into melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. The signs that should make you worry about a mole and cause you to see help from a doctor are the following: 1. If the mole is asymmetric. 2. If the mole has an irregular or blurry border. 3. If the mole has more than one color within it. 4. If the mole is larger than about 6 mm or 1/4 inch 5. If the surface of the mole is elevated or with significant texture. If the mole meets any of these criteria, this raises the chance of it being concerning, and it may require a biopsy by your dermatologist.
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