Great beauties such as Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford have a signature feature in common; a beauty mark. Although considered a symbol of beauty, a mole can be a reminder to protect ourselves from the risks of developing skin cancer.
Moles sometimes mark the development of melanoma, a form of skin cancer. However, most moles are not dangerous. Moles that are potentially cancerous are those that look different than other existing moles and those that first appear after the age of 20.
A mole (nevus), occurs when the pigment-producing cells in the skin (melanocytes) grow in a cluster instead of evenly throughout the skin. Most moles appear during the first 30 years of a person’s life. It is normal to have between 10-40 moles by adulthood.
It is important to self-examine moles on a regular basis. Medical doctors recommend using the ABCDEs as a guideline to examine moles. See a dermatologist immediately if you have a mole that displays any of the ABCDEs. It could be cancerous and may need to be removed.
Learn the ABC’s of Moles
- Asymmetry – One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- Border – The border or edges of the mole are irregular.
- Color – The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of brown, black, blue, white, or red.
- Diameter – The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
- Evolution – The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.