Moles are very common. A melanocytic naevus, or mole, is an area of skin where there is an increased number of pigment cells There are other types of naevi that have formed from other cell types i.e. not from pigment cells.
Melanocytic naevi are generally brown & black in color as a result of containing the pigment melanin, so may also be called a pigmented naevus. Some moles are present at birth; however, most moles develop over time, particularly on parts of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Whilst most moles are benign and completely harmless, moles can develop into Melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer. Indeed having large numbers of moles is the highest risk factor for the development of melanoma. It’s important that individuals regularly check their moles for signs of melanoma.
Moles tend to stay the same size, color, and shape, when a mole changes in any way, it is very important to seek consultation from a dermatologist.
When checking and monitoring your moles, it’s not always easy to tell whether or not there is cause for concern. If you have many moles, photography is very helpful in monitoring change as photographs provide a record of the exact appearance of a mole at a certain time point. This can be used for comparison to see if a lesion is changing. Change is one of the most important features to look out for when checking your moles. Most melanoma appears in normal skin, about 25 or 30% of melanoma evolves from a previously benign harmless mole. Some melanoma looks like moles initially before it becomes obvious that the pigmented lesion is of concern and needs removing. This similarity between moles and melanoma is one of the main reasons why people need to check their moles.
Picking up a melanoma early is clearly better for the patient as the melanoma is likely to be at an earlier stage and less likely to have spread. If you are not sure about a pigmented lesion, or if it is changing or has become symptomatic then it is best checked by our Expert Dermatologist Dr. Raj Kirit.
Everyone with moles should conduct self-checks at home regularly. Ideally, it is recommended that moles be checked every month. One of the best ways to stay on top of your moles is to integrate regular checks into a routine. For example, some people find it helpful to check their moles when they get out of the bath or shower.
There are a number of reasons why someone might need to get their moles checked by a professional. First, if they are at higher risk of developing skin cancer than other people, it’s advisable to get regular professional screenings.
They have fair hair, eyes, or pale skin that burns easily
Another indication that it’s time to schedule a mole check-up is if a mole changes in Feature. New marks, discoloration & changes of shape or outline should be checked by a professional. These are potential signs of malignant melanoma and will require a mole assessment and possible biopsy. Catching melanoma early offers the best prospects. In this early stage, the melanoma can be surgically removed to prevent further spread.
It’s important to remember that not all moles are found in visible locations – the back, for example. Individuals, particularly those with a lot of moles, may have moles that they cannot see – even in the mirror. These moles are much harder to monitor, and it is advisable for these individuals to schedule an appointment for mole screening with Our professional.
One of the best things you can do when checking your own moles at home is to make it a regular routine. This is mainly because, the better you know your skin, the more likely you are to accurately spot changes. The more regularly you check your moles, the easier it will be to notice those all-important warning signs. Photography can help in.
Try to become familiar with the location, colour, patterns, and size of your moles. Then, conduct a head-to-toe check approximately once per month by standing in a well-lit room with a full-length mirror. This will help you check your body all over.
As well as checking the obvious places (arms, legs, face, torso, and back), it’s important to also check those harder-to-reach areas. This is where the mirror will come in handy. Moles occur everywhere, including between fingers and toes, on the scalp, buttocks, genital area, palms, and the soles of feet.
When observing each mole, try to follow the ABCDE protocol, as follows:
Signs that a Moles are Dangerous & How to check for Melanoma
The ABCDE protocol is designed to help detect possible melanoma. Healthy moles should appear symmetrical in shape, of uniform color, with smooth edges, and a diameter of 6mm or less. Any mole that lies outside of these parameters should be checked by Our Best Dermatologist who will assess whether or not a biopsy is required.
A biopsy involves the surgical removal of a suspicious mole for examination. By conducting a biopsy, our Best Doctor will be able to assess whether or not the pigmented lesion is cancerous and, if so, whether the melanoma has spread to the lymph glands (sentinel node biopsy).
The regular checking of moles on your body is fundamental to maintaining skin health and preventing the spread of melanoma. As well as checking your moles at home once a month, it’s important to reach out to a professional if you notice a suspicious mole or pigmented lesion.
Celestee Skin Laser and Hair Clinic offers comprehensive mole screenings with top consultant dermatologists.