Check your skin this Mole Awareness Month
May is Mole Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to get clued up about what’s going on with the ones that cover your skin.
Moles are small coloured spots on the skin made up of cells called melanocytes, which produce the colour (pigment) in your skin. Moles change throughout our lives, but it’s important to keep track of these differences as, although most moles are harmless, some develop melanoma – an aggressive type of skin cancer. If skin cancer is detected early it is almost always curable.
“Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their moles and skin, but some people are more susceptible than others,” Dr. Anjali Mahto from Cadogan Clinic told Cover media. “Adults typically have around 10-40 moles on their body so it can sometimes be hard to keep track of the size, shape and development of the moles, but there are ways to determine how at risk you are and if you should book in to get a mole check.”
Cadogan Clinic, based in London, U.K., has now opened up a Mole Check service so patients who are worried about any changes in their moles can get them checked and swiftly removed by the team.
While the majority of people are now sun smart when it comes to harmful UVA and UVB rays, sun bed users, those who have been burnt by the sun and people who are outside a lot may have an increased risk. If melanoma runs in the family it can also mean a higher chance of developing it.
Dr. Mahto has shared his top tips for checking for skin:
• Examine your body front and back then right and left with arms up
• Inspect your forearms back and upper arms
• Look at the backs of your legs and feet as well as soles and in-between the toes
• Don’t forget to inspect your neck by parting your hair and lifting it up
• Finally, check your bottom with a hand held mirror.
“There are a few key things you should look out for when checking your moles. At the Cadogan Clinic we recommend the ABCDE formula, which is a handy guide to remembering to look for: Asymmetry, Border, Colour, Diameter, Evolving,” he advised.
Moles that have sides that don’t match, have an uneven boarder, are not a single shade of brown, are large in diameter or evolving in size or shape, may be a sign of melanoma.
If you do spot anything abnormal, compare it to the other moles on your body to see if it differs in size and shape. It’s important to remember that not all changing moles mean skin cancer, but if you do have any worries check with a dermatologist or doctor.