Are Your Moles Cancerous? How To Check

Reported by: Lauren Gawthrop
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Updated: 5/18/2012 8:06 am
If you spend a lot of time in the sun and see something suspicious on your skin, how do you know if you should have the mole checked? Well, it helps to remember your ABC's.

"A" means asymmetry. If you were to divide your mole with an imaginary line down the middle, it would look different from one side to another.
 
"B" is for the borders. You'll want nice, sharp, well-defined borders, not borders that have a jag or are spread out.
 
"C" is for the color. You'll want a nice, uniform color, not a color that changes from dark to light to red.

You should also pay really close attention to the diameter of your moles. The bigger the mole, the more concerning it is.

Moles or blemishes that change or evolve over time may be problematic as well, but doctors say it's important to understand that even abnormal moles can be harmless.

"We can all have moles that look abnormal or look unusual. It does not mean you have melanoma. But you're not going to know that unless you come into someone who has a trained eye and can tell you 'Yes you need to worry, no you don't need to worry'," said Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Lucas.

Dr. Lucas says if the dermatologist cannot determine if a mole is cancerous just by looking at it, then a sample will be taken and looked at more closely under a microscope.
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