Cancerous or not? How to spot a mole -

How to spot skin cancer

It's well known that excessive time spent in the sun can increase your risk for developing cancerous moles. While most moles are not dangerous, how do you know if you should have a mole checked by a physician?

Doctors say just remember your ABC's.

"'A' means asymmetry. You cut the mole in half, it looks different from one side to another. 'B' is for the borders. We want nice, sharp, well-defined borders. Not borders that have a jag, are spread out, or don't look very nice. 'C' is for the color. We want a nice, uniform color; not a color that changes from dark, to light, to red. Any kind of change in the color," explains Dr. Jennifer Lucas, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

In addition, pay attention to the diameter of your moles. The bigger the mole, the more concerning it is.

Moles or blemishes that change or evolve over time may also be problematic.

But Dr. Lucas says it's important to understand that even atypical-looking moles can be harmless.

"We can all have moles that look abnormal or look unusual," says Dr. Lucas. "It does not mean you have melanoma. But you're not going to know that unless you come in to someone who has a trained eye and can tell you [whether or not you should worry]."

If a doctor can't determine if a mole is cancerous just by glance, then a sample of your skin will be taken and examined under a microscope.

And remember - to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, limit your sun exposure and protect yourself with clothing and broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Six deadly foods for dogs

    Six deadly foods for dogs

    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods
    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. But these common snacks could be fatal for Fido.
  • Fugitive Friday: Central Virginia's Most Wanted

    Fugitive Friday: Central Virginia's Most Wanted

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:04 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:04:54 GMT
    Fugitive Fridays tracks down Central Virginia's most wanted. Take a look at the photos and see if you can help police track down these suspects.
    Fugitive Friday helps track down Central Virginia's Most Wanted.
  • Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Parents desperate to get their troubled sleepers to bed are turning to synthetic melatonin, which is a supplement sold over the counter. But expert warn it could have adverse effects on child development.
    Many adults turn to sleep aids like melatonin, but now more parents are giving them to their kids, too. We talked to physicians to see what they had to say about how it could affect your child's development.
Powered by WorldNow