How to Know When to Get a Mole Checked

Just about everyone has moles, and lots of them; most adults have 10-40 moles on their body, and the majority of them appear by age 20. Sometimes, though, you may wonder if you need to get a mole checked out by an expert at the Naaman Clinic. Skin cancer is serious, but it’s also highly treatable if it’s caught early.

Just remember your ABC’s — and DE’s

This handy mnemonic device will help you know when to have a mole looked at. Each letter is associated with something to look for when you examine your moles. Moles that exhibit the following qualities are called atypical moles.

A is for asymmetry

If half of your mole doesn’t look like the other half, you should have it looked at. Moles should be symmetrical.

B is for border

A normal mole has a smooth border; a mole that is worrisome may have a scalloped or badly defined border. If it appears the color of the mole is bleeding into the surrounding skin, you should have it examined.

C is for color

Most moles are one color. If you have a mole that has shades of, or combinations of, black, brown, white, red, or blue, you should make an appointment at the Naaman Clinic.

D is for diameter

If you have a mole with a diameter larger than a pencil eraser, you should get it looked at. Size isn’t always an indication of a problem, but it’s a good idea to have larger moles examined.

E is for evolving

A mole that is changing in size, shape, or color needs your doctor’s attention. Usually moles remain the same over your lifetime.

Additionally, if you have new moles that have developed after the age of 20, you may want to have them checked out. Or, if a mole bleeds, itches, or hurts, get it checked.

What to expect when a mole is evaluated

If your Naaman Clinic practitioner is suspicious of one of your moles, it may be time for a skin biopsy. During a biopsy, the doctor removes a small amount of skin and has it tested.

There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and least dangerous. Squamous cell, which takes months to grow and usually appears where your skin is exposed to sunlight, is more dangerous than basal cell and can spread elsewhere on your body. Melanoma is the most perilous to your health because it can grow quickly and turn into a threat in six weeks. Melanoma can appear in areas of your body that don’t get much sunlight, and it can also spread elsewhere on your body.

Check your moles

It’s a good idea to check your moles regularly for suspicious appearances, especially moles that you were born with or if you have a family history of skin cancer. You want to be on the lookout for moles that are changing or that you haven’t noticed before. Use a full-length mirror to examine your entire body and keep track of your moles.

If you’re worried about your susceptibility to skin cancer, book an appointment with the practitioners at the Naaman Clinic. They will be happy to evaluate your skin, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have.

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