Skin cancer is not something that you ever want to take chances with, and often the most common sign of skin cancer is an atypical mole. But what makes an atypical mole different from a regular, non-cancerous mole? There are many tools available for a doctor to use to diagnose them, but often all they need to do is look at your mole to get an idea of if it is atypical or not. When they look at your moles they are looking for several common signs which, if they see them, will indicate you need a mole removal procedure done as soon as possible. Here are three signs that you can look for yourself that might suggest you have an atypical mole.
Bigger Than Average
The first thing you should know is that most moles are far too small to be considered atypical moles. Guidelines vary, but anything under 5 millimeters is generally considered normal and not cancerous. If your mole is that size, or slightly larger in both height and width, then there is a greater than average chance it could turn into a cancerous growth. This is especially true when it is paired with another one of these features, but always make sure to get a professional opinion before you scare yourself!
If your mole ever bleeds for any reason then this is a major red flag, especially if you did not bump or scratch it. Benign moles do not usually bleed, but this rule is not set in stone. Make sure to clean the area carefully and then go to talk to your primary contact or a skin cancer specialist for a diagnosis. Sometimes mole removal can be done right there, on the spot, as it is not painful and has a very low risk of complication.
Color And Shades
If your mole has different colors, or it seems to change color, be warned. The more dormant a mole is the less it will appear to change color and the more regular it will be. If a mole is atypical, it will often change color or appear with multiple different colors and shades already present on its surface. It is particularly important that if your mole changes color or changes in any way that you get it examined and removed, if necessary. The less a mole changes the better, so at the first sight of changing pattern, color, size, or blood flow, you need to get your mole checked out.