Early cancer detection is the fastest way to start treatment. A critical part of early detection is regularly examining unsuspecting moles. There are 5 important signs to look out for before going to the doctor. And, knowing the signs can mean detecting melanoma in its earliest and most treatable stages.
Most moles are benign, but not all moles stay benign, especially when regularly exposed to the sun. Taking a few minutes a month for a brief self-examination can bring significant peace of mind.
Moles on Skin: The 5 Signs to Look out for
If you’ve noticed new or unusual moles on skin, it may be time to get a dermatologist’s expert evaluation. Here are five signs that it may be time to go to a doctor for advice.
Put simply, cancerous moles are often asymmetrical. If one half of the mole doesn’t match the other half, it’s asymmetrical. If you aren’t sure if the mole is asymmetrical or not, make an appointment with a dermatologist for a second opinion.
Jagged Borders on Mole
Are the borders or edges of the mole jagged, blurred, bumpy, or otherwise irregular? Has it become more so over time? If so, that’s a reason to get a mole checked by a doctor.
Changes in Color
Has your mole recently changed color? Color changes to look out for are tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red. If a mole changes color, it should be examined by a professional.
The Size of the Mole is Large
How large is the mole? If it’s larger than the eraser head of a pencil, it should be examined by a doctor. This is especially true if you’ve noticed a significant increase in the mole size.
The Mole Changes in Size, Color, or Shape
As mentioned above, if the mole’s size, color, or shape has changed recently, it should warrant a doctor’s examination. These changes are often signs of melanoma; the earlier it’s detected, the earlier it can be treated.
What Do You Do if You Find Red Moles on Skin?
Red moles on skin are often a cause for concern. As noted above, any change in a mole’s color is a good reason to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Keep up with good self-examination practices and examine your moles frequently. If you develop new moles, or if a close relative has a history of melanoma, you should aim to examine monthly. Generally, moles are benign or non-cancerous. But any moles that change or first appear in adulthood prompt closer examination.
Get a dermatologist to evaluate your mole if it changes in color or appearance. Also, get it checked if the mole bleeds, oozes, itches, appears scaly, or becomes tender or painful. These are signs of potential issues, even if these issues aren’t malignant. Your dermatologist may recommend a biopsy or mole removal depending on the situation.
In addition to examining yourself for moles, limit your exposure to sunlight and use sunscreen whenever possible. Pay close attention to moles in any areas that are frequently exposed to the sun. These can include the hands, arms, chest, and head.
Get Your Mole Examined by a BASS Medical Professional
Melanoma is a dangerous form of cancer. When left undetected and untreated, it can pose serious health risks.
The risk of skin cancer is not something to be taken lightly, and early detection can and will save lives. If you need a second opinion on a mole, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the BASS Medical Group. BASS Medical’s board-certified dermatologists can examine any concerning moles and recommend biopsy or mole removal options.