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What melanoma signs should I look for when I look at my own skin?

The following characteristics may indicate potential skin cancers:
  • Asymmetry: Marks that are not generally round with a uniform shape may be cause for concern.
  • Border: Precancerous and cancerous lesions are more likely to have jagged, irregular borders.
  • Color: A mark that changes color, becoming lighter or darker, or one that is not uniform in color may be dangerous.
  • Diameter: Pay careful attention to any mark that is larger than 1/4 inch in diameter; that's about the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Elevation: Take note of moles or markings that become raised or develop an uneven texture.

In addition to the signs above, a mole that itches, bleeds, doesn't heal, or grows very fast requires a professional medical evaluation. A person knows his or her skin better than anyone and should schedule a visit with a healthcare provider if anything about the skin seems unusual.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.