First off, it’s important to state that skin cancer does not only appear in moles. Although moles are a common place for skin cancer to be seen – unusual sores, lumps, blemishes, markings, or changes in the way an area of the skin looks can also be an indication that something is not right. So whenever you see changes to the skin appear and you feel uncomfortable, go and see your doctor to take a closer look.
Flat or raised moles?
Now when we zoom in to moles, there can be a lot of confusion on how a normal mole is supposed to look. Normal moles can either be flat or raised. That in itself is not a definite symptom of skin cancer. But…. When a mole has always been flat and now has changed and became raised, that would be a sign that something is going on.
Next to that, there are other symptoms to be aware of. You can remember the ABCDE-model and self-check as a first step when you don’t trust a certain mole.
|· A – Asymmetrical Shape |
Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or asymmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.
|· B – Border |
Non-cancerous moles usually have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions will often have fuzzy, irregular borders.
|· C – Color |
The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.
|· D – Diameter |
Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 mm in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser) while normal moles will usually be 6 mm or smaller.
|· E – Evolution |
The evolution of a mole or growth is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to diagnosing melanoma. That’s why it’s essential for individuals to take note of what is normal for their body. Melanoma lesions will often have gone through recent changes in color and/or size while non-cancerous moles will usually stay the same over time.
So as a rule of thumb, changing moles are the most important to keep a close eye on. In that case, it does not matter is they are flat or raised – when change occurs, either one of them can be considered risky. Make sure to regularly perform self-checks so you can identify changing moles.