Hello, my name is Dr. Day with Innovation Dermatology. We often have a question, what should I be looking for in an atypical mole? Moles are common. The more fair-skinned you are, generally, the more moles you will have. As we age we develop more moles up until about the age of 40 to 50.
A simple mnemonic helps patients to identify which moles are of concern or not. Generall, we would call this the “ABCDE” rule. When we go through the “ABCDE” rule, A stands for asymmetry. If you were to take a mole draw a line down the middle does one side of the mole match the other?
B stands for border. The border of the mole is important because if it’s irregular or scalloped it suggests that the would not be nesting uniformly under a microscope.
C stands for color. Does the mole have many different colors? Now many of us have moles that have light brown and dark brown colors, that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about our colors like jet black, blue, red, white, accompanied by Brown and light brown.
D stands for diameter. Many people are born with birthmarks or what we call a congenital mole, that is larger than 6 millimeters. Those generally, will grow with us through adolescence and then stay a uniform size. What we’re talking about when we talk about diameter is a new mole that has increased in size beyond about the tip of a pencil or 6mm.
If you have asymmetry, irregular borders, multiple colors, or increasing size, you would then meet criteria E, elevated or evolving. This means your mole is changing.
If you’ve answered yes to those questions then that’s a mole worth having reviewed by your physician or dermatologist.
And don’t forget your sunscreen.
In a recent study in New York daily application of sunscreen in patients who already had melanoma help reduce their Risk by up to half.