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Is Your Mole Cancerous?

Heads up: By the time you're 30, you shouldn't be growing moles anymore.

Some marks on your skin, like moles, may be harmful and be a sign that you have melanoma, known to be the most serious type of skin cancer.

Melanomas and moles can develop anywhere on the body, but most often they develop on areas that receive plenty of sun exposure like your arms, face, and legs. Most melanomas can arise from previously normal or healthy skin, while 28 percent of melanoma cases develop from an existing mole.

Here's how to know if your mole is suspicious:

It's new. By the time you're 30, you shouldn't be growing moles anymore.

If there are changes in the mole's color, height, size, and shape. Moles usually change. They can have a bigger diameter or become raised over time. Still, it's good to see your doctor to make sure the changes you're noticing are normal.

It bleeds, itches, or becomes tender or painful. A normal mole won't give you any fuss.


In examining your moles, follow the ABCDE:

Asymmetry. Does one half of the mole look different from the other half?

Border. Does the border or edge appear ragged or blurred?

Color. Does the mole have different shades of brown, tan, or black?

Diameter. Is the diameter of your mole larger than that of a pencil eraser?

Evolution. Is it changing in size, shape, or color?

If your answer is yes to any of those questions, have your mole checked by a dermatologist since it could be cancerous. If it is, your doctor will remove the mole entirely, along with some normal skin around it, so the cancer won't spread.

Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Men's Health

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