Moles vary in shape, color, and size. There are some which may look raised or flat, round, or oval. Moles may entirely be brown, tan, or simply a dark spot on the skin. These may also have hair growing from them. Commonly, moles aren’t greater than six millimeters (approximately the width of a pencil eraser). 

Moreover, most individuals have few, unnoticeable moles. Some of these may appear during birth; however, majority may take shape during childhood and/ or adulthood. Typically, once it emerges, a mole permanently remains the same in size, shape, and color. 

Signs To Watch Out For

Most moles are harmless or non-cancerous. Despite this, you should learn to perform self-examination frequently to check for any novel moles or subtle changes, which you may have overlooked. 

Monitor any suspicious changes, which could be a prevalent sign of melanoma, a critical type of skin cancer. Likewise, it would be best to examine your skin’s health to know when it’s necessary to schedule a medical checkup.

Furthermore, to educate yourself regarding the other specific signs, keep on reading.

1. Enlarged Mole

In some instances, some moles may naturally enlarge as a person grows. Likewise, some of which may eventually disappear.

To note, there are individuals who innately have larger moles, approximately seven inches in diameter. However, although these are harmless, large moles can increase your risk of acquiring skin cancer. An alarming, potent sign would be when an enlarged mole appears differently compared to the other moles. If you happen to notice this, then it would be best to see a doctor before the problem worsens over time. 

Moreover, it has been reported that more than half of the melanomas that stemmed from giant moles were diagnosed during the age of 10. Fortunately, this is treatable when it is caught on its early phase. Likewise, skin cancer treatment has become accessible to many patients over the last couple of years.

Additionally, dysplastic nevi may also put you at risk for melanoma. This uncommon type of mole may be detected through their big, irregular, and colored characteristics. These moles also share certain features of melanoma. Likewise, these can appear on skin regions that are directly exposed to the sun or even on areas that are typically covered, such as on the scalp.

2. A Family History Of Skin Cancer

If a first-degree relative, such as your parents, grandparents and siblings, historically had melanoma detected through the swelling of moles, then there’s a greater probability that you may acquire it, too. Notably, it’s estimated that about 10% of patients with melanoma have a family history of the illness. 

For this reason, if you found out that you have a close relative who had melanoma, then be on the lookout through examining your skin frequently. To further protect yourself, you also need to be critically mindful about applying sunscreen and refraining from tanning beds. 

3. Discolored Mole

A Spitz nevus is a harmless, colored, rare type of mole that commonly takes shape during 10 to 20 years of age. Naturally, this is a round mole that is pink, red, tan, or brown. 

Similarly, a Spitz nevus may appear like a melanoma as both of which is associated with more than one color. Although it may look like a detrimental kind of skin cancer, a Spitz nevus isn’t a benign lesion. 

Sometimes, it eventually disappears without treatment. Furthermore, for preventative measures, your doctor may advise to remove the suspicious Spitz nevus while it’s still benign. However, if it seems like it’s not altering, then they may instruct you to monitor it instead.

In addition, a few, atypical Spitz tumors may progress to melanoma. For this reason, it would be best to get an accurate diagnosis regarding the mole.

4. Bleeding Mole

Normally, a mole may be irritated, bumped against another object, or may accidentally be scratched. Consequently, this may weaken the skin vessels underneath the mole and can result to bleeding.

When this occurs, you need not to panic immediately. However, if a mole has discharged blood or fluid without being injured, then this may potentially be alarming. 

A mole that appears like an open sore can be a sign of melanoma. Thus, to help identify if the mole is cancerous, your doctor may advise for an MRI examination. The sooner you identify the problem, the better are your chances of having it cured. 

5. Numerous Moles

Kristina Callis-Duffin, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Utah, claimed that an abundance of moles may imply that your skin cells are particularly dynamic. Consequently, this may become malignant over time.

It’s normal for you to acquire new moles. Nonetheless, if you happen to have 50 or more of these, then you may need to consult a physician regarding this concern. Having more than 50 ordinary moles on your body pertains to an increased risk of developing melanoma. An Australian study claimed that more than half of the reported melanoma patients, ages 15-19, had a minimum of 100 moles.

According to the American Cancer Society, you need to be wary for these other alarming signs:

  • A sore that hasn’t recovered over time
  • Pigment enlargement from the spot border towards the surrounding skin area
  • Redness, inflated mole
  • Sensational changes, such as itchiness, tenderness, or ache
  • Surface changes of the mole, such as scaliness, discharging fluid, bleeding, or a manifestation of a lump or bump

Self-Examination: The ABCDE Rule

Additionally, if you plan to try and initially screen your moles, then take note of the ABCDE acronym. This may guide you in determining signs of melanoma.

  • Asymmetry: Half of the spot doesn’t correlate to the other half
  • Border: The edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or have irregular shapes.
  • Color: The mole has various colors
  • Diameter: The birthmark’s diameter is greater than six millimeters
  • Evolving: The mole appears to alter in size, color, or shape

The Bottom Line

There are several, valid reasons why you might need to consider a medical checkup regarding your mole. Keep in mind that it would be best to speak to a physician ahead before your current situation worsens over time. Your doctor may provide you practical advice on how to prevent the progression of melanoma.