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Moles: Which Ones Indicate Possible Skin Cancer? - Dr. Heck

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Dr. Heck provides tips to help recognize problematic moles you may develop.

Dr. Heck:
I’d like to give you some tips for recognizing moles that could be going bad or turning into cancer. The AAD has a pneumonic they use: A, B, C, D. A is for asymmetry. So if a mole starting to look asymmetrical, one side not looking like the other, that could be a sign the mole is going bad. B is for borders. Borders should be sharp and defined. It shouldn’t look like the pigment in the mole is leaking out of the mole.

C is for color and we want the mole to be basically all one color. If there’s multiple colors in the mole that could be a sign the mole is going bad, and D is diameter, 6 mm or less and that’s kind of a broad criteria. A lot of big moles are just fine, but that’s kind of something to look for and you should do monthly mole checks. So look over your skin every month and see where your moles are because anything new is also something that should get your attention. Moles should not be changing. They should be stable over time.

About Dr. Shannon Heck, M.D.:
Shannon Heck, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a board certified dermatologist and a partner in a large, thriving dermatologic practice in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. She specializes in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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