Unusual Mole Symptoms: Why Ignorance Isn't Bliss

Feb 09, 2024
Most people have moles. And if you don’t give yours a second thought, you’re not alone — but did you know that unusual moles can be cancerous? Learn how identifying suspicious moles is key to early skin cancer detection and more effective treatment.

Your skin is a remarkable organ. Not only is it the largest organ you have, but it forms a constant barrier between you and the outside world — and it’s constantly renewing itself to stay in tip-top shape.

Protecting your skin means protecting your overall well-being, and that means staying informed about the various conditions that can impact your skin health. One of the most serious threats is skin cancer, and an estimated 9,500 Americans are diagnosed every day.

While not all moles are cause for alarm, some can be cancerous and it's essential to pay attention to them. Our expert team at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center offers professional skin checks, and we’re here to answer all your questions.

Ignorance isn’t bliss: the risks of undetected skin cancer

Most people have moles, and the majority are harmless. However, it’s important to keep a close eye on your moles because ignoring unusual symptoms can have severe consequences.

Suspicious moles could be cancerous. And skin cancer, if left undetected and untreated, can spread (metastasize) to other parts of your body and lead to more complex and life-threatening conditions. Melanoma in particular is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and it can metastasize quickly.

Along with a risk of metastasizing, skin cancer can be disfiguring if it’s not caught or treated in its early stages. Surgical interventions to remove advanced skin cancer can result in significant scarring and functional impairment, affecting not only your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being.

So when it comes to moles and skin cancer, ignorance is far from bliss. The good news is that early detection can make a significant difference in the outcome of skin cancer treatment.

Understanding the importance of early detection

The silver lining here is that skin cancer is highly treatable when it’s identified early. In fact, the five-year survival rate of early-stage melanoma is 99%.

Regular self-examinations and professional skin checks play a pivotal role in early detection. We recommend annual skin exams at a minimum. If you notice any unusual changes in your moles or if you have a family history of skin cancer, you may benefit from more frequent appointments.

Early-stage skin cancer is often localized, which means it’s more straightforward to treat. Surgical excision, Mohs surgery, and other dermatological procedures can effectively remove cancerous cells with minimal disruption to healthy tissue. 

In some cases, we may prescribe topical treatments or radiation therapy. Overall, early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and reduces the need for more extensive interventions. 

Recognizing the signs of a suspicious mole

So, it’s important not to ignore unusual mole symptoms — but what makes a mole suspicious? Use the ABCDE method to keep an eye on any moles that exhibit the following characteristics:

  • A - asymmetry
  • B - irregular borders
  • C - color changes
  • D - diameter larger than a pencil eraser
  • E - evolution, or changes in size, shape, or color over time

Healthy moles are typically symmetrical. They have well-defined borders, and they are a consistent color. If you notice a mole that’s asymmetric, changing in appearance, or irregular in other ways, schedule a dermatologist appointment.

Unusual mole symptoms should never be dismissed. When it comes to skin cancer, knowledge is power, and we’re here to help you stay informed and stay healthy. Schedule your next skin cancer screening online or call our office in Teaneck, New Jersey, at 201-836-9696 to get started today.