Most people get various kinds of skin moles as they get older. Some of these are hereditary while others come from sun exposure over many years’ time. Some moles are attractive and called beauty marks. However, certain types of moles can turn cancerous. That is why it is important to check your moles regularly and get a dermatology exam every year or more often if you find suspicious moles on your body. Even existing moles can be a problem if you notice changes in them, so have them checked out. Here are potential signs of trouble to look for.
Although cancerous moles can be any size, many grow to be the size of a pencil eraser or larger. While that doesn’t mean all large moles are problematic, it is a good idea to have them checked by a dermatologist. Following a thorough evaluation, the dermatologist will let you know if you should consider mole removal for any current moles. Moles that become precancerous can usually be taken care of with just a simple surgery. However, if they’re left to develop, they can become serious, turning into melanoma or another serious form of skin cancer.
Moles are not usually perfectly round. They may be oblong in shape or somewhat irregular in structure. However, a mole that is raised from the skin’s surface and displays an irregular border around part or all of its edges, may be symptomatic of skin cancer. In particular, jagged edges or an elongated shape are common signs of an abnormal mole, but these symptoms do not always mean you have skin cancer. However, they are another indicator that you should get a comprehensive skin exam by a licensed dermatologist.
Skin moles come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. You might see white, tan, brown, red, blue, or black moles on your skin or any combination of these colors. Often, melanoma manifests in dark brown or black pigment, but it can form in moles of other colors as well. If you have a mole with distinctive coloration or other potential signs of skin cancer, ask the doctor to check it out to find out whether it is beginning to turn cancerous. This is especially important if one mole has a mix of colors or shades across it.
Since many people develop skin moles from childhood through the rest of their lives, they may find more moles appearing as the years pass, especially if they spend time in the sun or have a genetic disposition toward moles. However, existing moles that show changes in size, color, or shape or that begin to itch or bleed should be checked by a doctor. These symptoms might not represent signs of skin cancer, but any kind of noticeable change should be reported to the dermatologist for evaluation as soon as possible.
For any type of concern you have about your skin moles, schedule a checkup with a dermatologist. It’s also a good idea to have an annual exam whether or not you notice mole changes.