Tag Archives: skin cancer

Dr. Wynn Kao on how to recognize abnormal moles

wkaothumbBy Shayna Thorn

When I asked Vanguard Dermatology’s Dr. Wynn Kao to name the most frequent question patients ask, he responded without hesitation. Everyone wants and needs to know how to tell if a mole is abnormal.

There is an old joke about the Jewish telegram. It reads: Start worrying, details to follow. This pokes fun at the pointless exercise of getting agitated, as if it ever helps, even—or especially—in the absence of facts.

Dr. Kao has the antidote to unproductive worrying. He provides the vital ABC’s of what you need to know so that no one has to waste time on needless anxiety. Here is his answer to the most-frequently-asked question:

 “You can know if a mole is abnormal by a combination of factors that you can remember by ABCDE:

abcde-of-melanomaAsymmetry of the mole, meaning that one side looks different than the other

Border of the mole is irregular (jagged or blurred edges rather than smooth and round),

Color of mole is dark or variable,

Diameter of mole is larger than about a pencil eraser size.

Evolving moles—watch to see if the mole is evolving or changing. Any change—in color, size, shape, elevation—needs immediate professional attention.”

If you see these signs, or even think you see one of them, don’t waste time worrying. Call Vanguard Dermatology (212-398-1288) for an appointment.

Learn more about the ABCDEs of skin cancer self-exams at skincancer.org