Paying careful attention to moles is a great way to stay proactive about your health. Moles are commonly linked to the development of skin cancer. This is all the more true for those with close family members who have a history of melanoma. Whether new moles have recently appeared on your body, or you happen to be genetically predisposed to skin cancer, it is vital to perform a monthly check for suspicious growths. Early detection of skin cancer will allow for early treatment and a far better prognosis. Following are several important factors to look for when checking for moles.
Moles that are not symmetrical may be a sign of skin cancer. If one-half of the mole does not match the other half, schedule an appointment for a full skin exam at Pinnacle Dermatology to have this growth inspected.
Suspicious growths often have ragged or blurred borders. When the outside edges of a mole appear irregular or poorly defined, this is cause for concern.
Consider the coloration of the growths that your find on your body. Suspicious moles can come in multiple colors, or they may be present in various shades of blue, black, white, tan or red.
Small, asymmetrical moles with well-defined borders and normal coloration are rarely cause for concern. Larger moles, however, such as those that are bigger than a pencil eraser require medical attention.
Performing a mole check is not just about assessing the color, size and appearance of existing moles. It will also give you the opportunity to determine whether or not your moles are evolving in any of the above-mentioned features. Changes in size, borders, color and general appearance are a red flag. Make sure to have any changes inspected by our medical team.
These steps are commonly known as the ABCDE’s of a standard mole check, and they make this process easier. Checking for asymmetry, blurred borders, colors that are out of the ordinary, diameters of unusual size and signs of evolution is vital. Men should pay careful attention to the skin on their backs while women should be extra vigilant in checking their lower legs as these are the places where cancerous moles are most likely to develop in each gender. Those who are at higher risk for skin cancer should also have professional mole checks performed at least twice per year.
After a Suspicious Mole Has Been Found
If your dermatologist is not comfortable with any changes in your existing moles or with the development of a new mole, a simple biopsy may be scheduled. This is a short, outpatient procedure that involves the collection of a tissue sample for in-depth analysis. A biopsy can determine whether or not the growth is cancerous and how deeply the growth has penetrated into the skin.
At Pinnacle Dermatology, we recommend getting a full skin exam every year, and then performing at home skin checks monthly to monitor both new and existing moles and spots. Contact Pinnacle Dermatology today to schedule your consultation.