Why Checking Your Moles is Important?07.10.2021
Even though we didn’t have a summer filled with sun and heat, the dermatologists were able to insist that skin care is a top priority, no matter what the weather was. Our friendly moles, which are not the dark velvety mammal but small brown patches or growths on our skin, can be easy to ignore or overlook.
These little personalities on the skin can be benign and continue to exist throughout life. However, it is possible for Melanoma (or Skin Cancer) to develop as a mole. It is important to monitor your skin’s activity. Although it can be difficult to distinguish between a benign and a problematic mole, there is a way to identify the signs that will give you some peace of mind. Let’s start by recognizing that the skin is our largest organ.
What is a mole?
Moles, also known as melanocytic moles, are a group of pigmented cells that are made up melanin. They usually appear on the skin in childhood and adolescence, and are generally harmless. Moles are usually flat and round, and can become more common as we age due to sun exposure. Moles can appear anywhere on the body. They can be found underarms, belly button, eyebrows and everywhere in between.
Normal and common moles measure approximately 1/4 inch (6 millimetres) in size and have a distinct edge. They can be found in brown, red, pink, or black. There are many reasons why new moles might appear.
- Drugs that suppress your immune system are not an option
- Genetic mutations
- Sunburn, sun exposure, or tanning bed use
- Light hair, fair skin
- A family history of unusual moles
What is the best way to make a mole cancerous?
A new spot or change in the size, shape or colour of a mole is the most obvious sign that you have melanoma. A mole that is significantly different from your usual mole patterns or habits can also be a sign of melanoma. It is important to monitor your skin regularly if your skin has a fair complexion or if you are more prone to developing moles.
Due to the genetic damage caused by UV rays to the skin, new moles are most likely to appear from exposure to the sun. To prevent the growth of cancerous moles, it is important to stay shaded or wear sunscreen whenever we are exposed to sunlight.
How often should our moles be checked?
Most moles are consistent in their size, colour, and appearance. However, it is important to check them regularly to make sure you have a healthy skin. Your dermatologists recommend that you check your moles every one to three month. This could be done in the same way as checking your boobs after a shower with a mirror. You should be aware of any moles that are larger, discolored, asymmetrical, or lacking clear borders.
This ABCDE guide will help you to determine if a mole may be a sign of melanoma.
- A stands for an asymmetrical shape. The other half is different from the one that’s in it.
- B stands for borders. You should look for moles that have irregular, notched, or scalloped borders.
- C stands for colour. You should look out for growths with a change in colour, multiple colours or an uneven color.
- D stands for diameter. You should look for new growth in moles larger than 1/4 inches (roughly 6 millimetres).
- E stands for evolving. You should be on the lookout for moles that grow in size, shape or height. Itching and bleeding may be signs and symptoms that moles develop.
However, it is important to note that moles can change in shape and size. Be vigilant!
You can view examples of melanomas and normal moles at the Skin Cancer Image Gallery, which is located on the American Cancer Society’s website.
What happens during a skin/mole screening
The screening is fast, painless, and not something you should be concerned about. Your doctor or dermatologist may start by checking for a specific mole, growth, or area in your skin. However, they will often also check your entire body, from your chest to your scalp.
The doctor may take a sample of tissue to send to the laboratory. Depending on the results, the doctor may then remove the entire mole.
Remove troublesome moles
A mole removal procedure, for cosmetic or medical reasons, can be performed in two ways. One is surgical excision and one is surgical shave.
- Surgical excision: After the area has been numbed, doctors will use either a scalpel, or a circular, sharp blade to remove the mole. Then, they will stitch the area shut with a needle.
- Surgical shaving: Your doctor will numb the area and use a small knife to remove the mole. This method is usually less painful than traditional stitching, so scarring may be minimal.
You should apply at least SPF15 to your skin and your face all year, even in winter. Although they aren’t common, moles on the scalp can happen. This delicate skin can be protected by wearing a hat in extreme heat.
Sun rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. It is best to avoid direct sunlight during these hours to protect your skin. According to Nuffield Health, 86% of malignant melanomas found in the UK were caused by UVR (UVR from sun and sunbeds).
Last but not least, make sure to regularly check your skin and keep a track of any changes.