Most moles are completely harmless, but occasionally, they can become cancerous. As such, it’s important to know what signs to look out for.
These are common skin growths, and they can appear as small, brown spots. A typical mole is caused by a cluster of pigmented cells. Most people who have moles develop the growths during childhood and adolescence.
The average person has anywhere from 10 to 45 moles, which are likely to appear before the age of 40. It’s not uncommon for the growths to disappear or fade as you grow older.
Monitoring Your Skin for Cancer
Nobody wants to think about getting cancer, but if you have moles, you need to monitor them for changes. When screening your own skin, you’ll want to check for the “ugly ducklings.”
This process is easy because it consists of looking for spots that are significantly different than the rest. Since most people have stereotypical mole patterns, checking for the abnormal growths works very well.
All of the moles on your body might be flat and light brown, or they might follow the stereotypical pattern of being raised and dark. If you notice any spots that don’t look like the rest, you should have them examined.
Check for Sudden Changes
The majority of melanomas appear suddenly, which means they don’t form from existing moles. However, there are some melanomas that arise from existing moles, so it’s a good idea to monitor the color, size and shape of every blemish. Any sudden changes in the size, color or shape of a growth should be investigated.
The ABCDE Trick
Part of the alphabet can be used as a tool for mole monitoring. The combination of letters can make self-screening much easier to manage.
The letters stand for evolving, diameter, color, border and asymmetrical. When using this trick, watch for moles that are evolving or increasing in diameter.
You should also watch out for an asymmetrical shape and an irregular border. Another sign to watch out for is inconsistent coloring. If the color of the growth is inconsistent, then you should be concerned.
Common Warning Signs
There are several signs that could indicate the presence of a cancerous growth. However, these warning signs don’t automatically guarantee the presence of skin cancer. When screening the moles on your skin, it’s important to watch for inflammation and crustiness.
Moles that exhibit three shades of black or brown should receive further inspection. You should also watch for an increase in elevation. For example, look for flat moles that have risen or thickened.
The development of irregular edges could indicate that a mole has become cancerous. Check for changes in the symmetry, color, shape and size of the growth.
Turn to the Professionals
You know your body better than anyone, so it’s very important to use your gut instincts. If you’ve noticed some significant changes in a particular mole, you should have it inspected as soon as possible at Steele Creek Dermatology in Charlotte. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.