Moles can be linked to skin cancer, especially if you have a family history of skin cancer linked to moles or melanoma.
Examining yourself for moles together with using sunscreen and limiting sun exposure can help with early detection of melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer) and treatment. If you have developed new moles, or a close relative has a history of melanoma, you should examine your body once a month. Most moles are benign (non-cancerous) but those that look different than other existing moles or those that first appear in adulthood are often worrying.
If you notice changes in a mole’s color or appearance, you should have a dermatologist evaluate it. You also should have moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, appear scaly, or become tender or painful.
The following ABCDEs are important signs of moles that could be skin cancer. If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately by a dermatologist:
- Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half
- Border: The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular
- Color: The mole has different colors or it has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red
- Diameter: The diameter of the mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil
- Evolving: The mole appears different from others and/or changing in size, color, shape
Keep in mind that some melanomas may be smaller or not fit other characteristics. You should always be suspicious of a new mole. If you do notice a new mole, see your dermatologist as soon as possible. He or she will examine the mole and do appropriate investigations.
The dermatologist also does mole checking mole by using a digital dermoscopic imaging. This can be done with a hand held device called a dermatoscope or with a mole mapping device. With both the above magnified pictures are taken, stored and compared with pictures taken at the next visit.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – Gandhi.