Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and is one of the most survivable, provided it is detected and treated before it spreads. Self-examination is integral to noticing any skin changes in their infancy and bringing them to the attention of our doctor. Moles, while quite common and usually harmless, are especially important to scrutinize. It is a good idea to know factors to look for when examining your moles for early warning signs of cancer.
The Mole is Expanding
Most moles are no larger than six millimeters across, which is about the size of a pencil eraser. If you have one larger than that, consider photographing it with a coin placed next to if for size reference. Should you notice any mole is growing larger, have it looked at by our doctor as soon as possible.
The Color is Wrong or Changing
Most moles are black, brown or tan in color. It’s not uncommon for moles to fade and disappear entirely, so don’t be overly concerned if you note this happening. You want to be on the lookout for pink, blue, purple, green or white blotches on your moles. If you detect these colors or notice an existing mole is changing colors, get to Doctor’s Approach right away.
You Have an ‘Ugly Duckling’ Mole
One of the most obvious signs of precancerous or cancerous growth is a mole that just doesn’t look anything like the others you have. It may be a different color, size or shape. If you have one mole that sticks out like a sore thumb, bring it to the attention of our physician right away.
It Feels Wrong
Moles should not be itchy or sore. They also should not sting or burn. Strange sensations are a red flag, especially if you have no explanation for it. If you nick a mole while shaving or sunburn the area, the mole should heal up just as quickly as normal skin. If it doesn’t heal up, have it looked at by our medical professional.
It Refuses to Heal
If a mole becomes crusty, scaly or starts to weep fluid, see our doctor immediately. Be aware that this applies not only to moles, but to any small injury you sustain. If a blemish won’t heal, it needs attention.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Examining your moles for signs of skin cancer is an integral part of your self-exam routine. You should also be examined by a professional every year. If it’s been awhile since you were last checked over for suspicious skin changes, visit Doctor’s Approach, with locations in Okemos, Carson City and St. Johns. We happily perform full body skin exams for our patients. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.