Moles are extremely common. While most moles are harmless, it's essential to be vigilant and aware of red flag signs that could indicate a potential skin cancer.
In this blog, we will share some characteristics and changes in moles that should raise concerns, emphasizing the importance of regular self-examinations and professional assessments.
A healthy mole is generally symmetrical, meaning that if you were to draw a line through the center, the two halves would be nearly identical. Asymmetrical moles, where one half looks different from the other, can be a red flag and may warrant further investigation.
2. Border Irregularities
The edges of a benign mole are typically smooth and well-defined. In contrast, irregular or jagged borders can indicate abnormal growth or potential malignancy. Pay attention to any moles with blurred or uneven edges.
3. Color Changes
While moles can vary in color, sudden or significant changes in color can be concerning. Keep an eye on moles that exhibit variations in shades of brown, black, red, or other colors, especially if the changes are rapid or dramatic. Another sign to look out for is having different shades of colour in the same mole.
Larger moles, especially those exceeding 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser), may be a cause for concern. However, it's essential to note that smaller moles can also be problematic, particularly if there are notable changes in size over time.
5. Evolving or Changing Moles
Any noticeable changes in size, shape, color, or elevation should be closely monitored. Regularly check your moles for any signs of evolution, as this could be an indication of abnormal cell growth.
6. Itching, Pain, or Bleeding
Moles generally do not cause discomfort or pain. If you experience itching, tenderness, pain, or if a mole starts to bleed without any apparent cause, it's crucial to consult a medical professional promptly.
7. New Moles in Adulthood:
While it's common to develop new moles during childhood and adolescence, the appearance of new moles in adulthood should be examined closely. Any sudden onset of moles, especially after the age of 30, should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
8. History of skin cancer
Those whom had a personal history of skin cancer are more likely to develop a second skin cancer. Regular self-surveillance in combination with interval professional assessment are important in prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Regular self-examinations and professional skin assessments are crucial for monitoring moles and ensuring early detection of potential skin cancer. While most moles are harmless, being vigilant about red flag signs can contribute to the prevention and early diagnosis of skin conditions, including melanoma. If you notice any concerning changes in your moles, don't hesitate to seek advice from a healthcare professional for a thorough assessment. Prompt diagnosis significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and minimizes the extent of intervention needed.