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Moles Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Most people have some benign moles that appear at birth, childhood, or adolescence.

Benign moles, which can appear anywhere on the body, are usually:

  • Dark brown, but can also be yellow-brown or flesh tone
  • One color
  • Round or oval with distinct edges
  • Flat and smooth, but may occasionally become raised, rough, grow hair, or change color over time

Signs that a mole may be atypical include:

  • Sudden change in size, color, shape, texture, or sensation
  • Large size (¼ inch or more across, about the size of an eraser at the end of a pencil)
    • Many melanomas are smaller than this size.
  • A mixture of colors, often including black
  • Irregular edges
  • Abnormal surface that is:
    • Scaling
    • Flaking
    • Oozing
    • Bleeding
    • Open with a sore that won't heal
    • Hard and raised lump
  • Itchy, tender, or painful
  • Abnormally colored skin around it

Irregular Border on Mole

Skin Cancer Sign: Irregular Border on Mole
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Diagnosis

The doctor will examine your skin and ask about your symptoms and medical history.

Tests may include:

  • Biopsy —removal of all or part of the mole to be tested for cancer cells

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2018 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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