When it comes to health and cancer, it is helpful to be proactive when it comes to dangerous moles. After all, moles are associated with skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in the US. Based on the study performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 20% Americans who develop skin cancer if they do not know how to detect the early signs.

It is important to be aware that skin cancers are not deadly – at least not all of them. Melanoma, on the other hand, is the most dangerous and is actually quite common. If not found early, this can prove to be fatal. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 76,100 unique melanoma cases in 2014 with over 9,700 of the patients dying from the disease.

Common Mole vs. Melanoma

Although melanoma can be scary, there is good news: it can be treated easily when spotted at an early stage. You need to go talk to your doctor if you suspect that you have an unusual mole in any part of your body. It does not necessary have to be a mole, since melanomas can appear to be a mark or a blemish on the skin.

To detect whether your mole is actually a sign of skin cancer, you can take this ABCDE test:

Is it asymmetrical? If your mole’s half does not look like the other half, it may be cancerous.

Does it have border irregularity? This means that your mole is irregular and defined rather poorly. If there are blurred borders around the mole, this could be because it is melanoma.

What color is it? Moles that are quite dark or have different shades of color may be a sign of melanoma.

What is its diameter? Moles can be large, but it does not mean they can be bigger than a pencil eraser. If you have one big mole, it is time to consult your doctor. Do not be too complacent if most of your moles are small though. This does not guarantee that you are skin cancer-free.

Did one of your moles evolve? If it changed in shape, color, or size, it could be dangerous. Seek medical consultation immediately.

Mole Cancer Melanoma
Left column shows examples of melanoma. Right column shows normal moles.

We now live in a world where technology is dominant. Even your health can be checked with just a smartphone app. In fact, you can find an app that tells you whether your mole is cancerous or not. While this can be helpful, do not discount the value of a doctor’s examination and advice. Once a month of self-examination and regular visit to the health center can help you stay away from skin cancer.