A New/Changing Mole
Caught early, melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- is more than 90 percent curable. But if it spreads to the lymph nodes or beyond, survival rates drop below 50 percent.
It's particularly easy to ignore a mole that looks a little darker. That happens a lot after pregnancy, due to hormonal changes. (Hormonal contraceptives -- the Pill, the Patch, NuvaRing -- may also darken moles.)
"Any time a mole changes, you should get it checked by a dermatologist," says Dr. Laine. Follow the ABCD's of melanoma detection when you're keeping an eye on your skin: Look for Asymmetry (an irregular rather than a normal round or oval shape); Border (a wavy, unclear border); Color (multicolored, with bits of brown, black, red, even blue in it rather than the uniform brown of a normal mole); and Diameter (larger than a standard pencil eraser). Plus, if a mole is itchy, bleeding, or painful, have it checked.