Mole Or Melanoma: How To Tell If It Is Just a Mole Or An Underlying Skin Cancer

Moles are common signs of melanoma skin cancer development. To ensure that you don’t have one, follow these checks.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Feb 29, 2020Updated at: Mar 02, 2020
Mole Or Melanoma: How To Tell If It Is Just a Mole Or An Underlying Skin Cancer

Do you have a mole on your face? You must be gladly receiving compliments for this beauty mark but have you ever thought that this could be skin cancer? There is a fine line between mole and melanoma(a type of skin cancer) which can only be found through a skin check. A person should pay a regular visit to the dermatologist if he/she notices any suspicious skin or growth on their skin. In most cases, symptoms of skin cancer arrive months before which can help in timely prevention. As per Dr. Ajay Rana, Dermatologist & Aesthetic Physician and Founder & Director of ILAMED, "Today, many people have moles, and almost all moles are harmless. But it is important to recognize the changes in a mole like its size, shape, color, or texture that can suggest a melanoma may be developing. Unusual moles, sores, lumps, blemishes, markings, or changes in the skin looks or feels may be a sign of melanoma or another type of skin cancer." If you have a mole(s) on your body, check for these telltale signs to find if it is melanoma.

skin cancer

#1 Importance of a skin check

If you have multiple moles on your body parts, do a skin check to find the location or growth of a mole. During the first check, analyze the shape and size of the mole and then track any changes or growth in them. The increasing size of the mole is a sign that it could be malignant melanoma which is a skin cancer that is developed in melanocytes.

Tip: Take pictures of the moles and keep them with you for the future check. This is the best way to track any visible change in them.

#2 Characteristics of a normal mole

The size of a mole is less than ¼ inch. Moles generally are circular or round-shaped with soft borders. Initially, they are colored but they may get darker with regular exposure to the sun.

Also Read: Beware! These Everyday Activities Can Give You Cancer

#3 Asymmetrical growth in moles

Most moles are symmetrical like a circle. When you divide it from the center, both sides will be similar. Therefore, asymmetrical growth is a matter of concern. You must consult a dermatologist for the same so that an underlying ailment can be prevented.


#4 Changing color

Commonly, moles are black, brown, tan and red. First, check the color of your mole. If you see the color changing, you may need to book an appointment with a skin specialist. However, if you spend a lot of time outdoors, your moles may darken as sun exposure also causes darkening of moles. But beware of any drastic color change. For example, you black mole turning tan. Also, check out for color inconsistency such as one mole with two colors.

Also Read: Importance Of Sunscreen For Skin Protection

#5 Smooth surface when touching

mole cancer

Upon touching your mole, how do you feel? Moles have a soft texture and you’d feel soft as you touch a mole. If your mole has a rough or scaly texture or it forms a scab then this is a sign of caution as this could be a cancerous mole. Talk to your doctor immediately.

#6 Moles are painless

Normal moles are not painful at all even if you press them, you won’t feel any pain. If your so-called mole feels tender or painful or itchy, this could be due to melanoma. You should get it confirmed with a dermatologist skin test.

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