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A New Mole, Pigmented Skin Growth, or Spot

Alarmist scenario: Skin cancer.

More likely cause: A harmless mole, a seborrheic keratosis (a wartlike growth common in people over 40), or an age spot.

Reality check: Skin is constantly changing, in part due to sun exposure. Many changes are harmless, but “if you’re over 30, take new moles seriously,” says Deborah Sarnoff, M.D., a professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine.

Rx: Do monthly self-exams and get a skin-cancer check from a dermatologist every three years if you’re between the ages of 20 and 40 and annually after age 40. The ABCDE warning signs for skin cancer are a mole or a spot that is asymmetrical, has an irregular border, is unevenly colored (or has patches of red, white, or blue), has a diameter wider than a quarter inch, or seems to be evolving.

(Photo: Jen Corace)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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