Moles are incredibly common. Most people have them, though they vary in size, color, and shape. Although typically brown, moles can be black, tan, red, pink, blue, or even colorless! Some are flat, while others are slightly raised. Some sprout hairs, while others are bald. Although you should never be ashamed of having a mole, you should be embarrassed if you’ve never examined your moles for signs of cancer. Especially if you have a mole that is itchy, bleeding, or changing, it is important that you have a physician inspect your moles. Or, if you’re having a mole removed for aesthetic reasons, ask the skincare technician to send in potentially cancerous moles to a pathology lab. But first, you need to learn how to identify a cancerous mole . . .
How to Identify a Cancerous Mole
To identify potentially cancerous moles, remember your ABCDEs:
A is for Asymmetry. Is the mole symmetrical? Imagine that you’ve drawn a line through the mole: do the two halves match? If one half has developed differently from the other, you may want to have the mole checked.
B is for Border. Borders of moles should be smooth. If your mole’s edges are irregular, scalloped, notched, or poorly defined, ask your physician to examine it.
C is for Color. Moles come in a variety of colors, so don’t freak out if your mole isn’t a common shade (like brown). However, you should be concerned if the mole varies from one shade to another. The color should be uniform, and it shouldn’t change over time.
D is for Diameter. Small moles are not as likely to be cancerous as large moles. If your mole is greater than 6 millimeters (1/4 inch), have it inspected and keep an eye on it in the future. For reference, 6 millimeters is about the size of a pencil eraser.
E is for Evolving. A mole that morphs in size, shape, or color should be watched and inspected. These changes sometimes reveal that cancer has taken hold of the legion. Because an evolving mole is a cause for concern, it is important that you inspect your moles frequently and visit a dermatologist regularly.
There are three different types of skin cancer, and if found, all three require treatment.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common, and it tends to occur in areas frequently exposed to the sun. Squamous cell carcinoma also occurs in areas exposed to the sun, but it presents a greater threat because it can spread to other organs if left untreated (unlike basal cell carcinoma, which rarely spreads to other organs). Finally, the most well-known and serious form of skin cancer is melanoma. Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, and it must be treated early so that it doesn’t spread to other organs.
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If you would like to have a mole or another skin lesion removed, contact DermaHealth Laser & Skin Care Clinic if you live in or near Springfield, Missouri. We can safely and cleanly remove skin lesions and if necessary, we will send them in for pathology. To remove the mole, we will either shave it, excise it, or use the Ellman radio frequency machine. To learn more, please give us a call at 417-447-7777 or click here to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!