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How to Spot a Cancerous Mole?

  • Cancerous moles are a common form of skin cancer, with treatment requiring early detection
  • Checking for early skin cancer warning signs, such as a bleeding or itching mole, can help you determine whether or not the mole is cancerous
  • Unfortunately, melanoma skin cancer, the most difficult form of skin cancer to treat, is often the type involved with cancerous moles
  • A personal skin cancer screening known as the ABCDEs can be performed to check for possible cancer development with moles

Skin cancer may cause fewer fatalities than other types of cancer. However, skin cancer is also the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. Every year, more than one million cases are diagnosed. About 20% of all people will develop skin cancer at some time in their life. Treating this disease effectively requires early detection and that means paying attention to the signs of a cancerous mole.

Understanding Moles

Many people have moles but each is not necessarily a cancerous mole. Moles are actually a collection of cells that are heavily pigmented. As a result, they form darker colored areas often on the face and limbs. The average person has between ten and forty moles on their bodies but they can be a variety of sizes, shapes, and in locations. Having a mole does not mean you are going to have cancer.

When you do have a cancerous mole, however, you are going to be facing the most dangerous form of it: melanoma skin cancer. The reason is that moles are created thanks to the melanocyte cells in your body, and these are the cells which are distorted by the cancer. Unfortunately, melanoma is responsible for the most skin cancer-related fatalities but early detection is critical to effectively fighting the cancer.

Checking for a Cancerous Mole

If you are serious about detecting a possibly cancerous mole, you need to establish a screening schedule. Each month, look at the moles on your body. First, take note of any moles that were not on your body before. Even though new moles can develop, these should get a great deal of attention from you.

A cancerous mole may sometimes itch or bleed. It could also ooze or be painful. Normally, a mole should not do any of these things. Additionally, you should acquaint yourself with the ABCDEs of locating a cancerous mole.

These letters stand for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and elevation which are all aspects to pay attention to in order to spot a potentially cancerous mole. For example, moles should be equal in shape. Both sides need to be symmetrical. When they are not, this can be a sign of cancer. The mole’s border should normally be round and smooth and its diameter needs to be no bigger than the eraser on the end of the pencil. One red flag of a cancerous mole is a mole that increases in size.

Also, pay attention to the color of the mole. Cancerous moles begin to change color or have a number of different visible colors. Plus, the mole should be flat against the skin. Elevation could signal a cancerous mole.

Removing the Cancerous Mole

Once you have found a suspicious mole you need to speak to your physician. If it is a cancerous mole, you will need to have it removed along with some of the tissue around it. This can be done in a couple of different ways, including a punch biopsy, shave excision, or excisional surgery. The good news is that these procedures can be done right in the physician’s office and that once the cancerous mole is removed the mole won’t return. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you won’t develop a cancerous mole elsewhere on your body so vigilance and monthly screening will still be required.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “How to Spot a Cancerous Mole?”

  1. 1
    Keith M. Says:
    I always worry about my moles, because there are so many of them. At what point does one have to go see the doctor? I mean, sometimes I'm not even sure if the mole has changed shape or it just looks slightly different.