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Is it Just a Mole? Understanding the Warning Signs of Melanoma

Written by Dr. Zaheer Abbas | Medically reviewed by Editorial Team
Last updated on: June 20, 2023

Mole or melanoma?

Can a mole turn into melanoma?

Yes, but it happens rarely. However, people having a lot of moles are more susceptible to develop melanoma.

Can a common mole become dangerous?

Moles are usually non-cancerous but yes sometimes they can have cellular changes lead to dysplasia.

How do I know my mole is dangerous?

Sudden changes in moles can be alarming because normal moles usually stay the same size, shape, and colour. But dysplastic nevus or melanomas might change in size, shape or colour. Or you might notice other changes such as a mole bleeding, itching or becoming crusty.

When should I worry about a mole?

There is ABCDE rule to find out suspicious behavior of mole or melanomas. 

A: asymmetry (one half doesn’t match to the other half) 

B: border (the edges are irregular) 

C: color (two or 3 different shades of color) 

D: diameter (larger than 6mm) 

E: evolving (any change in color, size or shape). If you see any of above change; you need to consult a dermatologist. 

What is most common location for melanoma?

Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body however in females, leg and in males, back is the most common area for developing melanoma.

Can melanoma be cured?

Yes. If caught in early stages; cure rate is 99%. But delay in diagnosis or treatment may cause even death because of fast growing rate of melanomas. 

Which person is at higher risk of having melanoma?

An individual with:

1-Fair skin and blond or red hair

2- Having freckles 

3- Family history of melanoma 

4- Recurrent Sun exposure and tanning 

5- Having a large number of moles 

6- Suppressed immune system 

What is the best treatment for suspicious mole or melanomas?

A dermatologist will perform a skin biopsy initially for definite diagnosis. Treatment plan will be identified based on the stage of melanoma or degree of dysplasia in the mole. However the best treatment is surgical removal. 

Can all moles be removed by laser treatment?

NOTE: There are three different types of moles (Dermal, junctional, and compound). So depending upon there type & size different treatment options may be considered to have best cosmetic outcomes including shave excision, punch excision, laser or surgical removal.

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