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Checking for Moles and Skin Tags

September 1, 2010ICLS0Categories: Face, Home

Sheetal Sapra MD, FRCPC, Dermatologist

Molesand skin t ags are usually non-cancerous lesions that can be removed for cosmetic or preventative purposes. If the mole has changed in colour, size, or is bleeding, you should book an appointment with a family physician or Dermatologist immediately to check if the mole is cancerous and to prevent further spread of the disease. Skin cancer is most treatable and curable when detected early. Limiting sun exposure when the sun is at its brightest and by applying an SPF 30 or higher on a daily basis can aid in the prevention of most skin based cancers.

Moles are commonly removed using the shave technique; a small amount of local anaesthetic is injected and the mole is simply shaved off with an aluminum chloride being applied to the treatment site to prevent any excessive bleeding. Larger moles are removed by excision. For this method sutures will be needed, and will be removed 5-14 days later depending on the excision location. Remember the ABCDE rule when examining moles at home, and to check all over the body, including the back and shoulder areas. Skin tags are removed using cautery or by excision and usually require no sutures.


  • A – Shape of one half of area is different from the other.
  • B – Borders or edges are irregular or ragged.
  • C – Colour is not uniform, variation of white, brown, black, grey and red.
  • D – Diameter size is bigger than 6 millimetres, about the size of a quarter.
  • E – Evolution of the area is present, change in size, colour, and shape. Symptoms such as itching tenderness, and bleeding are present.
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