Melanoma Awareness, Skin Cancer, Preventative Tips
What do normal moles look like? A normal mole takes the appearance of a small brown-coloured spot or growth on the skin. They can be flat or raised and are usually round in shape.
The majority of these moles are caused by sun exposure. These types of normal moles are common on just about everyone, and most make their appearance during the first 25+ years of life. While it’s true that most moles will never cause any problems, someone with a large number of moles (think: 20 or more) is at higher risk of developing a form of skin cancer like melanoma.
Unsure how to tell the difference between normal and cancerous moles? Here are some tips.
Above: A mole that could be an early warning sign of skin cancer will usually be larger than 6 mm in size.
Remember the warning signs of potentially cancerous moles
One of the red flags you need to watch out for are irregularly shaped moles. Most normal moles are small, brown, and round. So if you spot a mole that is irregularly shaped and appears to change in size or shape over time, this is an indication that it could be a problem. Your next course of action is to make an appointment with a GP or skin cancer detection centre for a skin check.
Most problem moles are asymmetrical or lopsided whereas normal, non-cancerous moles tend to appear as a perfect circle. And because asymmetry in moles is one of the earliest warning signs of skin cancer, you need to speak to your GP or skin cancer detection service to have it checked out.
Likewise, pay close attention to the diameter of the mole you’re concerned about. A mole that could be an early warning sign of skin cancer will usually be larger than 6 mm in size, or about 1/4 inch. They can be smaller, but they don’t usually stay that way and will grow over time.
Above: Normal or common moles tend to have sharp, well-defined borders.
Check your mole’s borders and colours for signs
You need to pay attention to your mole’s borders, along with its overall colour. Here’s what you need to know:
Identify a cancerous mole by its evolution
Finally, you need to understand that a single examination is not enough to write-off a mole for good.
One of the major indications of cancerous moles has to do with how they evolve. They continue to grow, change shape, change colour, and are generally more pronounced over time. If you have a problem mole that falls into that category, get yourself checked at a GP or skin cancer detection service.
Generally speaking, normal moles are stable — they’ll look the same a year from now that they do today. A mole that gets larger or changes colour or has borders that grow more irregular are all properties that you should keep a close careful watch for.
Above: Got a suspicious looking mole? A regular mole check can help prevent melanoma.
Spot it to stop it: MoleMap for early skin cancer detection
Detecting skin cancer early is the key, so it pays to do regular self-checks. If you notice something out of the ordinary, you need to get it looked at.
Since 1997 MoleMap has been a trusted provider of advanced melanoma detection and surveillance services in Australia. Using the most thorough and trusted skin cancer detection technology in the world, our registered nurses who are accredited melanographers provide Spot Checks, Skin Checks, and Full Body MoleMap. Our team of highly trained and independent dermatologists, who work remotely, are experts at diagnosing early stage melanoma.
If you have a mole of concern or you’re worried it might be skin cancer, don’t hesitate to leave us a message, and we will get in touch with you right away.
Note: This quick questionnaire is designed to give you an idea of your personal skin cancer risk factors.
It isn’t intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis – please contact us if you have any questions about your skin cancer risk.
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