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How to Recognize Normal Moles From Cancerous Moles?

Wed, Oct. 05, 2016 Posted: 04:36 AM


Every year, more and more people are diagnosed with skin cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancers. Often times, they notice that a mole has changed its appearance, going to the doctor for a regular checkup. If you have moles on your skin, it is important to learn how to make the difference between regular and malignant ones. The sooner the correct diagnosis is made, the sooner the treatment can be started, thus improving your chances of survival. Read the information presented in this article, so that you are informed on how to distinguish a normal mole from a potentially cancerous one.

What does a Normal Mole Look Like?
A normal mole is a brown spot on the skin, sometimes presenting a raised surface. Moles can also appear as red dots on neck skin, especially at the beginning. Their shape is either round or oval, but always regular. It is recommended to inspect your moles on a regular basis, so that you notice any changes regarding their shape, size or texture.

And what about a Cancerous Mole?
The first thing that you have to remember is that a mole should never modify its aspect. If that happens, you already have something to worry about. A mole that has an irregular shape, with asymmetrical borders, presents a high risk of malignancy. Cancerous moles present more than one color, plus, they have the tendency to grow and expand with the passing of time. The mole can grow from a flat growth to one that is raised. It is possible that a cancerous mole lacks pigment, so you need to be weary of that as well.

Warning Signs Regarding Melanoma
While it is true that the best natural skin care can help you reduce the risk of skin cancer, this does not mean you are 100% protected against such problems. There are a number of warning signs that should cause you to become worried and schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. Apart from the changes in size, shape and color, a malignant mole can cause a number of discomforting symptoms, such as itchiness or bleeding. It can become painful to the touch and form crusts or be surrounded by inflammation. It is said that a mole presenting three different colors, as well as a raised surface, presents a 90% chance of being malignant.

ABCDE method
Dermatologists advise people who are worried about their moles to use the ABCDE method. This is a simple way to perform self-examination of the moles present on your body and determine whether they present a risk of malignancy or not.

ABCDE is an acronym, standing for: asymmetry, border, color, diameter and enlargement. As it was said, a mole that has become asymmetrical should raise questions towards being malignant or not. The same goes for the moles that have uneven borders or more than one distinct color. If the mole has a diameter larger than 6 mm (across), you should also think about visiting a doctor. The same goes for the moles that increase in size with the passing of time. So, you see, just by following these guidelines, you can establish whether you have a cause for worry or not.

What else should you Know About Moles?
First of all, it is common to present moles, especially since we are all exposed to the sun on a regular basis. Not all moles are cancerous, nor will they become. It is also a known fact that people who are faired-skin present a higher risk for moles, as well as for melanoma (as their skin is more sensitive to the exposure to the sun).

In general, a person can present between ten and forty moles on the skin, without any of them being cancerous. However, it is essential to understand and remember that any mole can turn into melanoma, at any point in life. If the cancerous mole is diagnosed in time, it can also be successfully treated (most commonly through surgical removal, with safety margins). Melanoma is not often diagnosed in children; so, when you will see the moles on your child darkening, do not be scared. This is the result of the growth process and it does not have anything to do with melanoma.

Prevention Matters More Than You Think
The best thing that you can do in order to keep the risk of skin cancer down to a minimum is to reduce your sun exposure. As it was already said, people with fair skin are more sensitive to the action of UV rays, so you need to take this into account. Always use sunscreen with high SPF, including in the winter or when it is cloudy outside, as the UV rays can penetrate the clouds and damage your skin. In the summer, avoid going out in the middle of the day, as this is when the sun is the strongest. Wear sunglasses with UV protection and a broad-rim hat. Go for clothing that covers the skin, as much as it is possible.

It is also recommended to avoid spending too much time on the beach, sunbathing. You should spend only the early morning and late afternoon sunbathing, as these are the most beneficial periods for the skin. At the same time, you might want to avoid artificial tanning beds, as these present a high risk of skin cancer, due to the constant exposure to harmful UVA rays.

Final word of Advice
If you have noticed that a mole on your body has changed its appearance, do not hesitate to go to the doctor. The longer you delay visiting the doctor, the more negative your prognosis is going to be. Skin melanoma presents a good chance of survival, provided it is caught in time. Use the ABCDE method to perform self-examinations on a regular basis and do the same for the other members in your family. Also, if you have any moles that bother you, for example, by rubbing against the clothing, it is recommended to have them checked out.

References:
http://skin-analytics.com/facts/how-to-check-your-moles/
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/bumps-and-growths/moles#treatment

Daisy Grace