Common moles are usually smaller than the width of a pencil eraser, or about 0.25 inch in diameter. A common mole is either round or oval and has a smooth surface. Often common moles are dome-shaped on top, but they may be flat to the skin surrounding them. This type of mole is pink, tan or a shade of brown from a very light color to a very dark brown or black color.
If you have a mole that changes color it may be developing into melanoma. Moles with two different colors denote a change that needs to be seen by a doctor. If a mole changes in size by growing bigger or smaller suddenly and into an uneven shape that is not circular or oval, it is time for a doctor’s checkup.
Moles may change in height by getting taller from the skin or have a scaly texture. These changes signify the need for professional help. When moles become very hard or feel as they have lumps in them, they could be turning into melanoma. Consult with a physician if your moles are very itchy or they ooze fluid or start to bleed.
Basically, any change in a common mole suggests the need to see a doctor to make certain that you are not contracting skin cancer. Melanoma is a serious skin cancer that if left untreated can spread to your lungs, bones, liver and to your brain. Measuring and observing your common moles at least once a month will keep you advised of the changes they incur so you can visit a doctor at the first sign of change.
Bottom line is that any mole that looks all irregular should be taken seriously, and you should consult with your dermatologist. Annual skin checks are a great way to make sure that ‘hidden’ moles on your back and other hard to see places are not problematic.
Copyright 2012. As licensed to Connie Brennan, RN. All rights reserved.