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A 27-year-old member asked:

how quickly does cancer in a mole normally spread?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeremy Man
Dermatology 17 years experience
It depends: There is no easy answer for this. The potential for spread in a melanoma really depends on how deep it is when it is caught and if it is ulcerated (open and bleeding). The deeper it is the more likely it is to have spread. The rate of spread is variable. Predictors of a worse outcome include: male gender, >65 years of age, extremities involvement, lymph node involvement and metastases.
Dr. Mike Bowman
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 19 years experience
Trick question?: I presume you are speaking about melanomas, which often look like a dark mole. Technically, a mole has no cancer, and so won't ever spread. Melanomas come in different varieties. Some grow superficially and don't metastasize quickly, while others may stay small, grow deep, and metastasize widely before the primary cancer is even recognized.

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A 27-year-old member asked:

What characteristics will a cancerous mole likely have?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Karen Han
Dermatology 23 years experience
ABCDE's of mole chec: Atypical moles that resemble melanoma often has one or all of the following characteristics: a for asymmetry; b for irregular borders; c for lots of different colors (or shades of brown); d for rapidly growing diameter; e for evolving or changing mole.
A member asked:

When should I be concerned about whether a mole is cancerous?

2 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Danny Proffitt
Family Medicine 43 years experience
Change!: Any mole that changes size, changes color, changes character like bleeding, itching, painful or any other change, should be check out by a doctor with an interest in skin disease. See your pcp, dermatologist, surgeon or other physician. You may only need to be reassured but a biopsy or removal of the lesion and study by a pathologist may be necessary. Do not risk it! get seen!
A 44-year-old member asked:

How can you tell if a mole is cancer?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Liawaty Ho
Hematology and Oncology 23 years experience
Changing mole: Mole would be suspicious if it changes- in size ( getting bigger), the border( irregular border), symptomatic ( redness, itchy, bleeding etc), color ( multiple colors-more than one). If your mole has any of them- or if you are in doubt - please dont delay- see your doctor. http://skincancer.about.com/od/symptoms/ss/mole_2.htm http://www.Mayoclinic.Com/health/melanoma/ds00575&slide=2.
A 42-year-old member asked:

How do you know if a mole is cancerous?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Ginsberg
Hematology and Oncology 37 years experience
Biopsy: A new mole, or one that enlarges or changes appearance needs to be biopsied. That is the way to determine if it is cancerous.
A 40-year-old member asked:

How long does it take for a mole to become cancerous?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. William A Biermann
Medical Oncology 46 years experience
Hard to say: There are many kinds of pigmented lesions that are called moles. Most are absolutely benign, so i can't give a time frame. There are estimates of how long it takes different types of early melanomas to become invasive, but that's a long answer. The best thing to do is to see your doctor and have a skin check. Tell them about any moles that worry you, so that you can be relieved.

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