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A doctor looking at an abnormal mole on a patient's back with a magnifying glass

Changing Mole

When should I be worried about a changing mole or spot on my skin?

Our bodies are constantly changing and our skin continues to change with it. This means you will continue to get new spots on your skin throughout the course of your life. Most of our moles develop by age forty, so any moles that appear after that raise a higher level of concern. It is important to do your best to become familiar with the different moles and spots on your body. That way, if something is new or is changing, you will have a better chance of knowing you need to see a dermatologist. 

What should I look for when looking at my moles?

It is always important to compare any mole you are looking at with your other moles. If it looks similar to the rest of your moles, you probably do not need to be worried about. We call this looking for the "ugly duckling mole". If it doesn't look like your other moles, or is irregular in the ways described below, or if the spot is bleeding and won't heal, you should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist promptly.  

ABCDE of Melanoma

To help patients identify melanoma, a simple ABCDE mnemonic was developed. By using the criteria listed below, you have a much better chance of knowing when you need to see a dermatologist. Through early detection, survival rates are greatly increase. Nearly 8,000 people die of melanoma in the U.S. annually. Most of these deaths could be prevented by early detection as melanomas that are diagnosed early have a 99% survival rate. 

What are some other spots or skin growths I should be aware of?

There are many different types of growths that occur on the skin that may look similar to moles or even skin cancer. While it is impossible to do a complete overview, our page on skin growths will be helpful to educate you for the types things you should look for when examining your skin. 

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD has over a decade of experience in examining moles. He was trained by one of the countries experts in dermoscopy and has authored papers on diagnostic techniques for melanoma as well as skin cancer screening. He is very thorough in his examinations and takes great care in making sure that no concerning spots are missed. If you have any moles or other growths you are worried about, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

A is for Asymmetry - The two halves of the spot are not the same

B is for Border - The border of the spot is irregular or poorly defined

C is for Color - The spot contains multiple colors

D is for Diameter - Most melanomas are larger than 6mm or the size of a pencil eraser

E is for evolving - The spot looks different than other moles or changes in size, shape, or color

A is for Asymmetry - The two halfs of the spot are not the same.

B is for Border - The border of the spot is irregular or poorly defined

C is for Color - The spot contains multiple colors

D is for Diameter - Most melanomas are larger than 6mm or the size of a pencil eraser

E is for evolving - The spot looks different than other moles or changes in size, shape, or color

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in examining moles. He was trained by one of the countries experts in melanoma, and has authored papers on diagnostic techniques for melanoma as well as skin cancer screening. He is very thorough in his examinations and takes great care in making sure that no concerning spots are missed. If you have any moles or other growths you are worried about, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in examining moles. He was trained by one of the countries experts in melanoma, and has authored papers on diagnostic techniques for melanoma as well as skin cancer screening. He is very thorough in his examinations and takes great care in making sure that no concerning spots are missed. If you have any moles or other growths you are worried about, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.