Your skin is your body’s largest organ and its physical examination can help detect any ongoing issues. When it comes to skin cancer protection, moles are one of the most commonly overlooked aspects. There are three types that you should be aware of: benign, malignant and dysplastic. A physical exam can help you determine which type your mole is, but it’s important to note that an expert opinion may be necessary to make a final diagnosis.
What is a mole check?
A mole check is the process of examining your skin for any suspicious moles, freckles or birthmarks. It’s important to have this done annually because it can help detect melanoma early on and save your life. Melanomas are more likely to occur on areas of the body with less exposure to sunlight such as the soles of feet. They also tend to appear as asymmetrical moles with irregular borders and colors ranging from tan, brown, black or blue-black. If you notice any changes in your moles or other lesions on your skin, you need to see a doctor right away.
Top ways to prevent skin cancer with a mole check
Know what your moles look like
A lot of people want to know what their mole looks like because it’s important for self-awareness and health reasons. They are small, benign, and usually harmless. They can be flat or raised and may come in many different shapes and colors. Some moles are so small that they might not be noticed at all. Others can cover large areas of skin on the face or body.
Know if your mole is changing shape, size or color
If you notice any changes in your mole, such as an irregular shape, asymmetry, color change (darker), itching or bleeding then it is recommended that you see a dermatologist for evaluation. If there is no change in size over time then this could mean that it’s not cancerous and will likely remain unchanged without treatment. However, if there is any enlargement over time then this could indicate cancerous cells within the mole which would need to be removed by surgery before spreading further into the body. It could be melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. Early detection is key when it comes to melanoma so knowing what changes mean for your mole can help save lives.
Know the different types of moles
Moles are usually brown or black, raised above the skin and may have hair growing from them. Freckles are light brown spots that appear on people with fair skin. They’re flat to the surface of your skin and don’t have any hair. Some people have just one mole while others have many. It is important to know what type of mole you have so it can be monitored for any changes over time.
The Bottom Line
Moles can be harmless but they can also signal cancerous cells that could spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to have regular mole checks with your dermatologist to prevent skin cancer and to know what’s going on with your skin and catch anything early before it becomes a problem.