Reader's Digest posted "14 DIY Home-Health Tests That Could Save Your Life (and Take Just Seconds)" featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel.
The article includes Dr. Patel's expert commentary on examining moles.
You should know the difference between skin spots in order to find potentially dangerous diseases like skin cancer. “An easy way to decipher if a mole on your body is normal or potentially harmful is to use the ABCDEs,” says dermatologist Purvisha Patel, MD, creator of Visha Skin Care. This handy American Academy of Dermatology method, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving, will help you determine if you should schedule a screening with a dermatologist. “When observing a mole on your skin the first thing you want to look at is its shape—is the mole asymmetrical?” she says. If both halves are the same, it’s probably fine. Next, “An atypical mole will not have a defined border,” she says. If yours looks irregular, get it checked. “Notice if the color of the mole is all one shade or if it varies—a healthy spot will be one consistent color,” Dr. Patel says. “The diameter of melanoma [skin cancer] is usually greater than 6mm, or the size of a pencil eraser.” Finally, “is your mole evolving in size and/or shape?” she says. If so, have it checked by a medical professional.