How to Tell if I Mole is Cancerous?

I have a mole on my breast, it's been there for as long as i can remember but over the years it has grown in size and darkened..but then it got smaller but can still see a lighter brown line from when it had grew. ive been really scared to get it checked out and was wondering if it is possibly cancerous?

Doctor Answers 5

How to tell if a mole is cancerous

The only way to know if a mole is cancerous is to have it biopsied.  I would recommend that you see your dermatologist for an evaluation and possible biopsy.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Moles and Skin Cancer

The only way to tell if a mole is cancerous is to have a complete skin exam by a board certified dermatologist.  Upon examination, your doctor will examine all of your moles and if the mole in question looks suspicious, will send it to the laboratory for examination.  The lab will send the report to your treating dermatologist to determine what type of treatment, if any you will need.  Being scared of knowing if your mole is cancerous is understandable but a delay in diagnosis can potentially be serious.  Please go to your dermatologist this week to get a complete skin exam.

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

How to tell if a mole is cancerous

The only true way to tell is to visit a board-certified dermatologist or dermatologic surgeon, have the mole removed, and have it sent to a lab and read by a pathologist. Proper dyes and stains will be done to determine what type of mole or lesion it is, and if it is or is not a type of cancer. Any time you have a site that changes, you should see a physician. Don't be scared. The best thing to do is have it looked at and confirmed. Avoiding and guessing will only make it worse.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

How to Tell if A Mole is Cancerous

Your best option is to see a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate the pigmented lesion. We talk about the ABCDEs of melanoma, which stands for Asymmetry, Irregular/Jagged/orBlurred Border, variation in Color (or any of the colors red, white, blue or black), Diameter larger than about the size of a pencil eraser and Evolving or changing. It sounds like your mole has been changing and has some variation in color so the best option is to have it checked out. If it turns out to be skin cancer, the prognosis is best when you don't delay the diagnosis and treatment. If it's benign, you will be able to stop worrying about it. Talk to the doctor and have him/her teach you how to do a monthly skin self-examination. Good luck.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

How to tell if a mole is cancerous

Please use the ABCDE's as your guide for when to be concerned about moles: A for Asymmetry; B for Irregular Borders; C for Black or uneven Colors; D for diameter greater than a pencil eraser; and E for a growth that is Evolving or changing. To be safe, you should be carefully evaluated by a board certified dermatologist. If necessary, it is an extremely simple five minute procedure for a dermatologist to remove the mole using either a "punch" or a "shave" biopsy which typically leaves a minimal scar. The mole can then be checked microscopically for reassurance. You can follow the video link below to learn more about identifying the changes in moles that are suspicious for skin cancer.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.