Posts for tag: Moles
It’s important to know what warning signs to look for when it comes to skin cancer.
Early detection is key when it comes to skin cancer. Of course, this means understanding and knowing what to look for so that you can come in for an evaluation if something looks amiss. Our Oceanside, San Marcos, Fallbrook, Solana Beach, Murrieta, Menifee, and Temecula, CA, dermatologists think it’s necessary for everyone, no matter whether they have risk factors or not, to perform thorough self-exams.
You should evaluate every part of your body, from the scalp down to between your toes (No joke!). Skin cancer can develop anywhere, and most of the time it’s in a less-than-obvious place. Be sure to check all moles and growths on your body. It’s important to understand that healthy moles shouldn’t change over time. If they are starting to look different this could be an early warning sign of skin cancer.
So, what should you look for when performing your self-exams? The best approach is to follow your ABCDEs when it comes to examining and inspecting your skin for potential skin cancer (both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer). Here’s what ABCDE stands for:
As we mentioned before, moles stay the same over time. If you start to notice changes (evolving) such as itching, bleeding, or crusting then it’s time to call your dermatologist. Healthy moles are also symmetrical, which means that you could draw an invisible line down the middle of the mole and both sides would look identical in shape, size, and color. Asymmetrical moles are warning signs of a potentially malignant growth.
Healthy moles will also have a perfectly defined border. If the border of a mole is jagged or poorly defined this is something that needs to be checked out. The same goes for color. Moles should only contain one color. While a mole can range in color, if it contains multiple shades of brown, black, white, red, or even blue then it’s time to schedule a skin evaluation.
Lastly, size matters when it comes to moles. In most cases, a healthy mole will be smaller than the size of a pencil eraser. If a mole is larger it’s worth having it checked out. While melanoma does tend to be larger, some healthy moles can be larger than normal and some malignant moles can be smaller than a pencil eraser. If you are suspicious of any growth, we say, have it checked out just to play it safe.
If you are concerned about any changes to your skin it’s important that you talk to a dermatologist right away. Turn to the skin cancer experts at Dermatology Specialists serving Oceanside, San Marcos, Fallbrook, Solana Beach, Murrieta, Menifee, and Temecula, CA. No matter whether you are dealing with issues or you just need to schedule a routine screening, call us today.
Although moles are usually harmless, in some cases they can become cancerous, causing melanoma. For this reason, it is important to regularly examine your skin for any moles that change in size, color, shape, sensation or that bleed. Suspicious or abnormal moles or lesions should always be examined by your dermatologist.
What to Look For
Remember the ABCDE's of melanoma when examining your moles. If your mole fits any of these criteria, you should visit your dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- Border. The border or edges of the mole are poorly defined or irregular.
- Color. The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red.
- Diameter. The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
- Evolution. The mole is changing in size, shape or color.
Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles of the feet and even under the nails. The best way to detect skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stage is by checking your skin regularly and visiting our office for a full-body skin cancer screening. Use this guide to perform a self-exam.
- Use a mirror to examine your entire body, starting at your head and working your way to the toes. Also be sure to check difficult to see areas, including between your fingers and toes, the groin, the soles of your feet and the backs of your knees.
- Pay special attention to the areas exposed to the most sun.
- Don't forget to check your scalp and neck for moles. Use a handheld mirror or ask a family member to help you.
- Develop a mental note or keep a record of all the moles on your body and what they look like. If they do change in any way (color, shape, size, border, etc.), or if any new moles look suspicious, visit your dermatologist right away.
Skin cancer has a high cure rate if detected and treated early. The most common warning sign is a visible change on the skin, a new growth, or a change in an existing mole. Depending on the size and location of the mole, dermatologists may use different methods of mole removal. A body check performed by a dermatologist can help determine whether the moles appearing on the body are pre-cancerous or harmless.