When it comes to your health and skin cancer, it’s a good idea to be proactive and keep an eye out for dangerous moles. It is recommended that moles be checked every month for irregularities that might indicate a problem like skin cancer. The following are some signs to look out for when checking a mole:
- Color Changes: The first sign of a potentially cancerous mole is a drastic change in color—for instance, moles that are dark, brown, grey or inconsistent in color.
- Evolving Moles: A mole that has inconsistencies—for example, it transitions in color, shape, height or surface texture—might be dangerous or unhealthy and should be inspected by a medical professional.
- Blurred Border: Healthy moles have a defined border around the outside circumference. However, melanomas (or cancerous moles) tend to appear blurred or irregular around the outside edges. They can also feel raised to the touch with ragged, scalloped edges and color may run into the surrounding tissues.
- Pain: Any mole that causes pain or is tender to the touch should be considered dangerous, particularly if the mole exudes fluid or blood.
- Size: Healthy moles don’t grow any larger in size than 6 millimeters (or ¼ inches) in width. If you have a mole that’s large or gradually growing in size, book a medical exam to determine if it’s cancerous.
- Asymmetry: Healthy moles are usually symmetrical, which means they are equally sized (or both sides would match if folded in half). If you find a mole that’s uneven, you may want to get it looked at.
- Sores that Don’t Heal: A new mole or a sore that won’t heal no matter how much time, air, cleaning and ointment you apply may be a potential cancer risk.
- Bleeding and Scabbing: Particular attention should be paid to any mole that is lumpy, rough, dry or scaly on the surface, especially if it’s itchy or tender to the touch. Any mole that bleeds or develops a crusty scab needs attention immediately.
- Heredity: Unfortunately, many of our health issues are passed down by family members. In the case of skin cancer or a lot of suspicious moles, a history of the disease can put you at increased risk.
If you notice changes in a mole’s appearance, contact Center for Advanced Dermatology in Phoenix at 602-867-7546 or mddermsolutions.com to schedule an evaluation. Dr. Holy is an experienced dermatologist, able to diagnose and treat many skin conditions.