Experts share warning signs to look for with moles – and when to get it checked

It can be difficult to identify whether moles and skin tags are a cause for concern, but experts have shared the ABCDE rules to help with simple at-home checks

A woman getting a mole checked
Melanoma growths are often larger than 6mm in diameter

Experts have issued advice on what to look out for with your skin when it comes to moles and skin tags using a simple ABCDE rule.

During the summer months, protecting your skin becomes even more important and Transform Hospital Group is advising people to get checked if they have any concerns to ensure early detection of skin cancer and melanoma.

It can be hard to recognise if marks and moles on your skin are new, or if they have changed, especially in areas that are hard to see such as the neck and back.

The group says the areas most affected in women are the legs, and in men it’s the back, and a simple at-home check using the guide below can help you recognise if any moles or skin tags are a cause for concern.

Worrying moles are often more than one colour


Getty Images)

It says all body parts should be check throughly using the ABCDE rule, which sets out:

  • Asymmetry – Non-cancerous moles are typically uniform and symmetrical in shape, whereas melanoma is often asymmetrical
  • Border – Melanoma often has borders that aren’t well defined or are irregular in shape, whereas non-cancerous moles usually have smooth, well-defined edges
  • Colour – Concerning lesions often appear to be more than one colour or shade. Moles that are benign are typically one colour
  • Diameter – Melanoma growths are often larger than 6mm in diameter, which is roughly the same as the diameter of a standard pencil
  • Evolution – Worrying moles or skin tags will often change characteristics, such as size, shape or colour. Unlike most benign moles, melanoma tends to change over time

People who should be especially vigilant include those who have a large number of moles, a history of skin cancer and melanoma in the family, moles of an unusual appearance, or pale skin that burns easily in the sun.

Also included are those who have spent prolonged periods of time in direct sunlight, have red or blonde hair, or users of sunbeds, either currently or in the past.

Mr Simons, a plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon at Transform Hospital Group, said: “Regularly checking your skin can increase your chances of successful treatment. You can also help protect yourself from sun damage by using sunscreen and dressing sensibly while being exposed to sunlight.

“Some people may opt to have their moles removed as a preventative measure. If getting a removal, the procedure can take around 30 minutes, depending on the number of moles or skin tags being removed, and will involve a local anaesthetic to help reduce pain.

“Scarring from the technique is minimal and the process is carried out by a clinically-trained aesthetician, nurse practitioner or doctor.”


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