How do I differentiate a mole from a melanoma?

Brown mole

A mole is a pigmented spot that appears on the dermis. Many people wonder how to get rid of moles, but in an adult you can easily find 20-25 pigmented spots on his body. Most surely, only a small part of them were already present at the origin, since most of them develop during life. The number of moles on a human body is dependent on hereditary components, sun exposure and also on certain components that may promote their appearance, such as pregnancy.

Malignant melanoma

Melanoma, on the other hand, is a skin cancer that arises spontaneously or on a mole that is modified. Whereas moles are round and symmetrical, have regular borders, are homogenous brown and have a diameter smaller than 6 millimeters. Melanomas are asymmetrical, have irregular and scalloped borders, have 2 or more shades (brown, reddish, blackish) and usually have a diameter larger than 6 millimeters.

What do early signs of melanoma look like?

As with other types of cancer, such as breast cancer, self-tests of dermal moles are essential for the early detection of melanoma. They can be done with a mirror or with the help of another person.
One should look at the human body with arms raised, frontally and sideways in front of a mirror:

  • the forearms, arms and palms of the hands
  • the back of the extremities
  • the spaces between the fingers and the soles of the feet
  • the back of the neck and scalp and the lower back
  • buttocks and genitals

And, most of all, it is important to contact your dermatologist if you have any doubts, and he could removes moles if is needed.

How to get rid of moles?

If you are asking yourself this question, and in order to make the right decision and one that you will not regret: The most important thing is to have it examined by a professional before trying to remove moles yourself, even if you only want to do it for reasons aesthetic. The specialist must determine if the mole is potentially cancerous.

What is mole made of?

Moles are agglomerations of melanocytes and most of them are harmless. They can be of various sizes and shapes, although they are usually round or oval with diameters ranging from a few millimeters to approximately 1 centimeter.

What does it mean if a mole is itchy?

Although an itchy mole is not constantly an indication of malignancy, however, a melanoma has several symptoms and one of them is itching.
It should be noted that benign moles, as well as malignant ones, can appear anywhere on the body:

  • face
  • head
  • neck
  • chest
  • back
  • arms
  • wherever…

Are red moles dangerous?

Red mole

This group of cells (nevus or melanocytes) are small protuberances or benign tumors. They usually appear more in men than in women, and are more likely to appear on fair skin.
Red moles or spots that appear on the skin, some with relief, mainly do not hurt, they just remain present, and they are not usually dangerous. However, it is essential to know them well, in order to rule out the idea that the body is at risk.

Sometimes, the appearance of red moles does not entail risk or need to be taken care of.

Are atypical moles dangerous?

Atypical moles (dysplastic nevi) are unusual moles that look irregular under the microscope. Although benign, they deserve more attention as individuals with atypical moles have an increased risk of developing melanoma. A phycisian removes moles when he believes they may turn into malign.

Keep in mind that the appearance of such moles can change a lot. The best advice is to keep a record of any and all moles you have, that way you will have a better chance of identifying something new or changed.

An atypical mole is not skin cancer, but having such moles is a danger component for developing melanoma. Although rare, it can appear in grouping with atypical moles. For that reason, it is critical to be aware of such moles, have them checked by your dermatologist and be on the lookout for changing ones.

If you have atypical moles and a family history of skin cancer, you will have an increased risk of developing it. You should pay particular attention if you have:

  • Fair skin
  • Light eyes or hair
  • Freckles
  • Many moles
  • Particular or family history of skin cancer
  • Photosensitivity
  • Inability to tan
  • Repeated and intermittent sunburns

If you have atypical moles, it carries a high risk of developing it.

Individuals with 10 or more atypical moles have 12 times the risk of developing melanoma