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When can an atypical mole become serious?

If you have an atypical mole you should know that it may be a sign of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Keep in mind the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry of the color within the mole
  • Borders that are irregular
  • Color that is particularly dark
  • Diameter greater than 6mm (size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolution(change) over time
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

People who have atypical moles are at increased risk for developing a type of skin cancer called melanoma. The risk for skin cancer is greater if you have many atypical moles and you have two or more close relatives who have had melanoma.

An atypical mole is a small tan or brown growth on the skin that's usually less than a half inch in diameter. Atypical moles are irregularly shaped, unlike common moles, which are round. See a doctor if you have unexplained growths on your skin.

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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.