Dr. Clay Cockerell, a dermapathologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, whose lab evaluates suspicious skin biopsies, says there are ways to help evaluate if a mole deserves special attention.
"If you have concerns, it's worth having your physician take a look, but there are certain indicators, dubbed the ABCDE's of skin cancer, that signal the need for closer scrutiny from an expert," Cockerell says in a statement.
Stand in front of a full-length mirror and note exiting moles and blemishes and check for:
-- Asymmetry, moles that don't look the same on each side.
-- Borders on moles that are irregular, jagged or blurry.
-- Colors that are inconsistent, areas that are darker and lighter and multiple colors such as blue, purple, red or gray.
-- Diameter of moles larger than one-quarter inch or the head of an eraser.
-- Evolving lesions, or lesions that change even if they are small.
"Any of those indicators individually and certainly together warrant a trip to the doctor," Cockerell advises.
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