How to recognize a dangerous mole

We all know that sunburn damages our skin and can even cause malignant melanoma. But what does all of this have to do with moles?

While some consider moles to be beautiful, others see them as a visually unattractive growth on the skin. Whatever our opinion of them, most people have around 30 to 40 of these small marks on their body. The number of moles depends partly on genetic factors and increases over a person’s lifetime, often due to sun exposure.

When moles become melanomas

Moles are normally just an accumulation of benign pigment cells – but they can change over time and turn into malignant melanomas, a skin modification that  becomes outwardly visible. Monitoring moles can therefore serve as a valuable tool for the early detection of skin cancer.

The ABCDE rule – for the early detection of melanomas

Imagine you’re sitting on the chaise lounge, applying suncream, when you suddenly notice a brown mark you’d never seen before. Using the “ABCDE” rule, you can get a rough idea of whether it might be a problematic mole.

If one or more of the following characteristics apply, you should consult a dermatologist.

A stands for asymmetry: the mole has an irregular shape.

B stands for border: the mole doesn’t have a clear border – in other words, a clearly defined edge.

C stands for color: the mole shows different shades of brown.

D stands for diameter: the mole has a diameter of more than 5 millimeters.

E stands for elevation: the mole is clearly raised.

There’s no need to panic, however. These characteristics don’t automatically indicate skin cancer, but they’re definitely cause for further investigation. Bear in mind that you should not only check areas of the skin that receive the most sunlight, but also be on the lookout for moles all over the body.

To be on the safe side

Even with the ABCDE rule, you might still have some doubts when it comes to monitoring a mole. In general, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist in the event of atypical moles. Alternatively, you can also seek expert advice as part of a telemedicine consultation with Medgate.


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