I’ve got my fair share of skin moles, and I keep finding new ones all time. They’re weird. I’ve also had a few removed due to concerns of skin cancer. Skin cancer happens to be the most common type of cancer, but most of them can be treated if found early enough. The problem is telling which moles are normal, and which are not.

Normal moles are common, nearly everyone gets them. They’re just nice round spots on your skin and can either be flat and smooth or form a little bump on the skin. When moles don’t appear so simple, doctors use the ABCDE guide to visually assess whether or not the mole needs a closer look.

A – Asymmetry. Not all normal moles are perfectly round, but they’re almost always symmetrical. If the two sides don’t match up, the mole is asymmetrical.

B – Border. If the boarder isn’t clear or had an irregular edge, it should be closer evaluated. You should be able to draw a smooth outline with a pen on normal moles.

C – Colour. Irregular moles will have several shades of brown or unusual colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.

D – Diameter. If the mole is getting bigger, it could be harmful. Normal moles should be smaller than 6 mm across.

E – Evolution. Moles that are changing and growing are likely to be signs of cancers. The changes could be in any of the above categories as well as others such as how they feel or their texture.

Not everyone has the same skin type so some people are more likely to develop cancerous moles than others and they may not look the same on all skin. Still, moles that don’t conform to the “normal round spot” should be checked by a doctor to rule out any possibilities of cancer. Not all irregular moles are cancer, but at least one check to make sure wouldn’t hurt. Any that prove to be potentially dangerous are normally easy to remove and can be taken care of pretty quickly.

You should check your moles regularly and check your skin for any new ones often. One doctor recommended to me to place a dime (US 10 cent coin) beside a mole I was worried about and take a picture. That gave me a visual to compare to if I suspected the mole of changing at all. I think the same could be done with a dollar coin here and it gives your doctor an idea of the mole’s growth.

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