Are mostly small (less than 5mm in diameter) with well defined edges. They may be flat or raised and are usually evenly coloured with no more than one or two shades of brown as in photos 1 & 2.
They may be ‘dysplastic”, that is, larger with ill defined edges and somewhat irregular colouring on the surface as in photo 3.
Moles and freckles that may be a problem are those that change colour, shape, or size, become itchy, bleed or develop a lump so, when trying to decide if a skin blemish could be a melanoma, look for any mole or freckle that:
Has changed COLOUR
Melanomas often develop a blue or black colour. Sometimes areas may become lighter and many different colours such as reds, grey and blues may be found.
Has changed SHAPE or increased in SIZE
The change in shape is usually from an oval or round mole to an irregular “coastline” shape is in photo 5. The increase in size can be overall or simply an elevation above surrounding skin. It is important to react quickly if a flat mole becomes elevated. (photo 6) particularly if the elevation is dark or different colour from the original mole.
Has an IRREGULAR BORDER
Most harmless moles have smooth, regular borders. Melanomas often have irregular borders.
Is ITCHY or BLEEDS
A mole that bleeds without any significant injury should be examined by your doctor. Itch may be an important symptom but only if there are other changes noticeable in the mole – many skin conditions which are not serious are also itchy.
Has APPEARED RECENTLY
If a mole suddenly appears from normal looking skin. especially if it has any dark colours or is growing rapidly.