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Skin Cancer and Moles
Melanoma, the type of skin cancer that results in the most fatalities, typically develops in or around abnormal moles. Additionally, other cancerous and pre-cancerous skin growths, such as actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, may be mistakenly categorized as moles when in fact they are potentially serious conditions that require treatment.
It is therefore important to perform mole self-exams and seek frequent professional checkups to have your moles examined, especially if you notice any of the following:
A for Asymmetry – Part of the mole looks different than the rest of the mole
B for Border irregularity – Moles with uneven or jagged borders
C for Color changes – Multi-colored or dark moles
D for Diameter – Large moles with a diameter greater than or equal to 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) the size of a pencil eraser
E for Evolving – Changes in the way a mole looks over time, or development of other symptoms like itchiness, oozing or bleeding
Moles with the above criteria can be checked with a diagnostic biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of skin tissue so that it may be viewed under a microscope to check for cancerous cells.