Should You Be Concerned About Your Mole?
Everyone has moles, with most being no cause for concern. However, skin cancer affects around one fifth of all Americans and is the most common cancer in the country.
All About Moles
- The different types of mole
- Not all moles are cancer
The different types of mole
There are many types of skin lesions, most of which are benign (non-cancerous). They go by a variety of names:
- Moles: Black or brown skin growths that can be anywhere on the body. They might be raised, smooth, in clusters, or standalone. Some are there from birth (congenital nevi), but most appear before the age of 25. If a mole is larger than average—so has a diameter more than that of a pencil eraser—then it’s known as a dysplastic nevus. It’s usual for adults to have 10-40 moles. As we age, moles gradually change, altering in shape, perhaps becoming raised, or growing hairs. Some moles don’t change at all, and some might even fade to nothing over many years.
- Skin tags: Harmless flaps of tissue that hang from the skin by a thin connecting stalk. They can appear at any time of life but are common as a person ages or if they put on weight. They are also more common in women and are usually found on the chest, under the breasts, beneath the armpits, groin, or neck area.
- Lentigo: Skin spots that are darker than the surrounding skin. Commonly found in Caucasians
- with fair skin tone. Most often found on skin with high sun exposure, such as the face or hands.
- Freckles: Harmless, small, brown spots on the face, chest, neck, and arms. They are extremely common—especially those with fair skin, blondes, or redheads.
- Seborrheic keratoses: Black or brown growths that appear on the head, back, or chest. They develop over time and become warty as they grow. They are generally harmless.
Not all moles are cancer
Many moles and skin lesions alter over time. While this does not necessarily make them cancerous, it is important to seek professional advice if you notice a distinct change in a mole.
When a Mole Needs Further Investigation
- The different types of cancer
- When you should see a doctor about a mole
The different types of cancer
There are different types of skin cancer. The most common are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Caught early, these are easily removed and, if this is carried out, represents a 98% chance of increasing a person’s lifespan by five years.
A more serious type of skin cancer is melanoma. This is much rarer, accounting for only 3% of all skin cancer diagnosis. However, this type is responsible for more than 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Once again, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.
When you should see a doctor about a mole
The following mole changes should all be assessed by a dermatologist at the earliest opportunity:
- A mole that changes shape, size, or color
- One with irregular edges
- If it starts to bleed
- A mole that becomes sore or itches
- Any mole that’s larger than the size of a pencil eraser
- You notice any change in a mole and are at high risk, such as excessive sun exposure, use of tanning booths, a previous skin cancer, or a family history
Worried About Skin Cancer? Contact Bayou City Dermatology Today
Caught early, skin cancers have a very positive outcome—and the earlier it’s caught, the better. Regular check ups with a great dermatologist are the best way to reduce the risk of a cancerous mole progressing. If you’re concerned about a mole anywhere on your body, even if you’ve never had a dermatology consultation before, then you should seek professional advice at the earliest opportunity.
Discover more about moles and skin cancer at Bayou’s premier dermatology clinic,
https://www.bayoucitydermatology.com/clinical/skin-cancer, and book your appointment today.