Originally published 28/11/13; Reviewed 22/07/21
Malignant melanoma incidence rates in the UK have quadrupled in the last thirty years. Take a look at the ABCDE method of checking your moles and make an appointment with your GP if any of your moles are worrying you.
There is an easy 5-point way to remember the key criteria used to assess a mole. Using the letters A, B, C, D & E, take a look at the points below and make a note to check again in 6 months or a year, as it’s the changes in a mole that can indicate an issue.
• A stands for asymmetrical – melanomas have two very different halves and are an irregular shape.
• B stands for border – unlike a normal mole, melanomas have a notched or ragged border.
• C stands for colours – melanomas will be a mix of two or more colours.
• D stands for diameter – unlike most moles, melanomas are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
• E stands for enlargement or evolution – a mole that changes characteristics and size over time is more likely to be a melanoma.
For more info, head to the British Association of Dermatologists’s guide to the ABCDE check.
What if I’m concerned about a mole?
You should always seek a qualified medical opinion without delay if you have concerns about a mole.
On the page about our Mole Check service you can also see example photos of moles that are suspicious for being malignant, and those that aren’t. But this does not replace the need to make a medical appointment.
If you find yourself waiting for a consultation or treatment, we offer a complete private skin cancer service.
What if my moles are non-cancerous?
If moles are benign (non-cancerous), there are surgical and laser options available to you for their removal.
The Doctors and Surgeons at our clinic are all able to assess your moles to ensure that they are benign and therefore suitable for removal without a biopsy. They will be able to explain all the options available to you in full and guide you through the potential treatments available.
To book an appointment with one of our medical team, call us on 01943 882011.