Posts for tag: Moles
Do you have a mole? Chances are good that you have few of them, actually. The average person has around 30-40 moles, and while moles are usually nothing to worry about it is important to be able to spot any changes that could be warning signs of skin cancer. That’s why you should perform self-exams every month to check the state of your moles. Just because they could be harmless doesn’t mean you should ignore them.
A mole that develops after the age of 30, a mole that bleeds or a changing mole could be a sign of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. This is why it’s important to check your moles regularly. When found early, melanoma is highly treatable. When it comes to pinpointing melanoma your dermatologist may teach you about the ABCDE's of skin cancer:
Asymmetry: If you were to draw a line down the middle of a mole both sides would be completely symmetrical; however, an asymmetrical mole could be a sign of melanoma.
Border: Melanoma is more likely to produce growths that have jagged or poorly defined edges.
Color: Healthy moles are usually a single color, while melanoma will often contain different colors or dark spots.
Diameter: Most healthy moles are smaller than a pencil eraser. If you notice that one or more moles are getting bigger you should speak to your dermatologist.
Evolution: Moles stay relatively the same over time; therefore, if you notice any changes to the size, color, shape, or texture then it’s time to consult with a skincare professional.
Of course, melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer to be on the lookout for. The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas often present as waxy-looking pale bumps on the skin, often on the head or neck, while squamous cells feel like firm nodules that may be smooth at first but become scaly.
Even if you aren’t noticing changes in your moles it’s still a good idea to schedule a skin cancer screening with your dermatologist once a year. Those at an increased risk for skin cancer may want to discuss coming in more often for exams. This exam is non invasive and could just save your life. If you’ve never had a skin cancer screening before it’s high time that you scheduled one.
Whether you have a mole, birthmark or warts, it is important to pay close attention to any skin abnormality to ensure they do not develop into a more serious condition. Regular self-exams and trips to your dermatologist are important in preventing further complications. While moles and birthmarks are normal and common, and warts are typically unpleasant but not serious, any of these conditions could develop into a more serious issue if you aren't paying attention.
Moles are common - almost everyone has a few and some people develop hundreds. Individuals with light skin tend to have more moles, with the average ranging from 10 to 40.
Some moles can increase the risk of developing skin cancer more than others. Performing regular self-exams helps you recognize the early warning signs of melanoma. When examining your moles, look for the ABCDEs of melanoma detection:
Asymmetry – one half is not like the other
Border – irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border
Color – varied from one area to another, shades of tan, brown and black
Diameter – melanomas are usually greater than 6mm
Evolving – a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). Usually skin-colored and rough to the touch, warts can also be dark, flat and smooth. The appearance of a wart depends specifically on where it is growing. There are several kinds of warts, including:
Common warts – Usually grow on fingers, around the nails and on the backs of the hands.
Plantar Warts – Typically found on the soles of the feet.
- Flat Warts – Smaller and smoother than other warts, and tend to grow in large numbers.
Usually passed from person to person, warts can also be passed indirectly in some cases. The gap from first contact to the time the warts have grown large enough to be seen is often several months.
Birthmarks are areas of flat or raised discolored skin that are often on the body at birth or may develop shortly after birth. Birthmarks vary in color and may be brown, tan, black, blue, pink or red. Some birthmarks are only 'stains' on the surface of the skin, while others extend into the tissues under the skin or grow above the surface.
If you have a mole, birthmark or wart, it is important to visit your dermatologist for regular screenings in addition to self-exams at home. Though these are often harmless, it is important to keep a close eye on your ailments to prevent any further problems.