Is it a Mole or Melanoma?

Published on: September 8, 2015

Melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, but it can be one of the most dangerous. Although curable if caught early, the danger lies in the fact that it can quickly spread to other areas of the body where it is harder to treat. Melanomas can look very similar to a mole, so many people may ignore these cancerous spots. In rare cases, a common mole can become cancerous. Here are some of the differences between a mole and melanoma.

  • Size. Most moles are smaller than a pencil eraser. If you have a brown spot that is growing larger, it may not be a mole and should be inspected by a skin cancer specialist.
  • Edges. One of the identifying markers of a melanoma vs. a mole is the irregular edges. Most moles have distinct edges and are symmetrical. Melanomas will often have jagged edges and are odd shapes.
  • Color. While both moles and melanomas are often brown in color, melanomas can have a variety of color variations. Moles tends to be a solid, dark brown color, where a melanoma can have reds, tans and color differences.
  • Changing. Moles do not generally change in size or shape, while melanoma is constantly changing. This is one of the most noticeable signs that a spot may be a melanoma and not a common mole. It is also a sign that a mole may have become cancerous.

Melanoma is treatable when caught early, making it important to have any suspicious skin growth checked by a skin cancer specialist. If you have any ‘moles’ that have the traits of melanoma, see a qualified dermatologist that specializes in treating skin cancer.

Posted on behalf of:
Olansky Dermatology Associates
Peachtree Lenox Building
3379 Peachtree Road #500
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 355-5484

Was this article helpful?

The information provided on this website, including text, graphics, images, and other materials, is intended solely for informational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.