(Natural News) Moles are a common sight on a person’s body. These dark-colored clusters of pigmented cells usually appear during childhood, but can fade or disappear with age. While most are harmless, some moles may become deadly over time. Moles can be a risk factor for melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Melanoma may sound scary but it’s actually one of the most treatable cancers and, if caught early, can be taken out in its entirety by simply removing the mole. Dermatologists have listed five warning signs to watch out for; so if you want to know if your mole is cancerous, just remember ABCDE:
- Asymmetry — Draw a line through the middle of a benign mole, and the two halves will match. If you do the same to another mole and the two sides aren’t equal, then it’s an asymmetrical mole. An irregularly-shaped mole is one that puts you at a higher risk of melanoma.
- Borders — A regular mole has smooth and even borders. On the other hand, an early melanoma tends to have ragged and uneven edges, with some cases displaying notched or scalloped edges.
- Color Change — Exposure to sunlight can make moles darker, but the sun won’t make a single mole a multi-colored one. A variety of distinct colors in one mole is a warning signal that your mole could be cancerous. The colors to keep an eye on are different shades of black, tan, or brown. According to SkinCancer.org, a melanoma could even become white, red, or blue.
- Diameter — If you notice one mole that’s slowly grown larger over time, you need to have it checked. While most moles will be no larger than a pencil eraser (at one-fourth of an inch or six mm), the malignant ones usually become much bigger in diameter.
- Elevation or Evolution — Depending on which dermatologist you speak to, “E” could be either “Elevation” or “Evolution”. Dermatologists that use “Elevation” will advise you to watch out for moles with a raised surface, while dermatologists that prefer “evolution” will warn against moles that have displayed any changes in color, shape, or even bleeding.
Despite how easy it is to spot a cancerous mole, some people wouldn’t even bother. Dr. David Fischer, Director of the Melanoma Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the DailyMail.co.uk that these same people might even be too scared to check. “It’s one of those fear and denial-type things. People would rather not know than find out something scary or devastating,” Fisher said before adding: “But the thing is, six out of seven melanoma cases are cured just by catching it early and removing it. In other words, early detection could be life-saving. That statistic should help motivate people to be really proactive, to realize that there’s a benefit to this.”
Aside from moles, there are other factors that put you at risk of melanoma. If you’re predisposed to developing moles or birthmarks, have a family history of melanoma, frequently use tanning beds, or are under direct sunlight a lot, then you might just have a higher chance than most people.
Don’t fret, however. As was mentioned earlier, melanoma is treatable if the warning signs are spotted at an early stage. In the words of Fraser: “Not every cancer has that type of opportunity to catch it so early. This type of cancer does.”
Read more upbeat stories in the same vein by dropping by CancerSolutions.news.