Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Differences Between Melanoma and a Mole

An ordinary mole is an evenly covered brown, tan or flesh colored spot in the skin. It can be either raised or flat. It's shape can be round or oval, but has defined borders. Moles are usually a quarter of an inch across. You can be born with moles or they can appear later in life. Sometimes several moles appear at about the same time, especially areas of the skin that has been exposed to the sun. Once a mole has fully developed, it normally remains the same size, shape and color for many years. Some moles fade as a person grows older.

Warning Signs

The most important warning sign is a new or changing skin growth. It could be a new growth or change in size, shape or color that progresses over a month or more.

Most of us do have spots on our skin. A non cancerous growth sometimes can even look like skin cancer. Almost everyone has moles and most are harmless, but a change in their appearance is a sign you should see your doctor.

Things To Look For:

ASYMMETRY: One half of the spot does not match the other half

BORDER IRREGULARITY: Normal moles are round or oval. The borders of a melanoma may be uneven or notched.

COLOR: Common moles are usually one color throughout. Melanomas may have several colors or an irregular pattern.

DIAMETER: Common moles are usually less than one quarter of an inch across (about the diameter of a pencil eraser). Melanomas may be one eighth to one quarter of an inch across but are often larger.

Coming Next:
Other Warning Signs of Melanoma
How is Melanoma Diagnosed
Can Melanoma Be Treated?

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