What should I know about my mole?
- A type of skin cancer, melanoma, can grow in or near a mole.
- Caught early and treated, melanoma can be cured.
- The first sign of melanoma is often a change to a mole — or a new mole on your skin.
- Checking your skin can help you find melanoma early.
Before your appointment
Check out your own moles by doing a skin self-exam. Look for the ABCs of melanoma, and note any of the following symptoms so you can point them during your consultation. These skin cancer symptoms include:
- Asymmetry: The two sides of the mole look different from each other.
- Border: The mole’s border is crooked, jagged or irregular.
- Color: The mole is multi-colored.
- Diameter: The width is more than 6 millimeters, which is about the size of pencil eraser.
- Evolution: The mole has changed in size, shape or feeling.
Removing a mole
Having a mole removed is a simple, low-risk procedure. First, a numbing injection is given near the mole. This may pinch a little, but should keep you from feeling any pain during the removal. There are different techniques used to remove the mole.
- Shave biopsy – a razor blade is used to shave off the mole and the skin around it
- Punch biopsy – A punch tool is placed over the mole and used to “punch” out the mole
- Scalpel removal – A scalpel is used to remove the mole and skin surrounding it and stitches are used to help the skin heal
Moles in children: What parents should know
Moles on a young child’s skin are generally nothing to worry about. It is normal for new moles to appear during childhood and adolescence. Moles will grow as the child grows. Some moles will darken, and others will lighten. These changes are expected in children and seldom a sign of melanoma — a type of skin cancer that can begin in a mole.