How Do You Know If a Mole Changes Shape?

Published: May 20, 2021
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Hey TFX, how do you know if a mole changes shape? Should I be worried about skin cancer at 17? I thought only older people got skin cancer.
Signed: How Do You Know If a Mole Changes Shape?

Dear How Do You Know If a Mole Changes Shape?,

Unfortunately, TeenHealthFX cannot diagnose over the internet and skin cancer is not something only older people need to worry about. More young people are getting diagnosed with some form on skin cancer as each day passes. It is extremely important to wear sunscreen, check your skin often and keep an eye on moles, beauty marks, and freckles to see if any changes occur. Skin cancer can be prevented through the use of proper sun protection and yearly skin checks with a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin conditions). 

In terms of knowing if a mole changes,  explains, the most important rule to remember is the ABCDE rule:

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
  • B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
  • D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
  • E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

Your doctor or dermatologist may take pictures of certain moles or freckles and monitor them over time to document any changes that may be occurring. If you are concerned about a mole or simply want a skin check, we strongly recommend reaching out to your doctor or dermatologist. Early detection provides the best possible outcome and recovery. We hope this helps!

Signed: TeenHealthFX