It’s perfectly normal to have up to 60 moles by the time you’re 25. You may have had a few when you were born, but most moles develop gradually into adulthood. Most moles are simply cosmetic changes to the skin and will never cause problems. However, keeping an eye on new and changing moles can help you catch skin cancer early. The trick to knowing every inch of your body is to print out a body mole map and record what you see over time.
Begin with a Skin Cancer Self-Examination
While it’s recommended that you see a dermatologist for professional skin cancer screenings once a year, this is something you should also do at home once a month. The most common places for skin cancer to develop include the face, chest, arms, calves, and other places that receive the most sun exposure.
Still, skin cancer can develop anywhere, so be sure to take a good look at every part of your body during a skin self-exam. Remember to check your underarms, between your fingers and toes, the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, and your scalp. Use a full-length mirror and a hand mirror or get help from another person to examine hard-to-see areas.
Record Your Moles
The American Academy of Dermatology has a skin cancer body mole map you can download for free. You’ll see that the chart includes the front and back of your body, your head from four different angles, and the bottoms of your feet.
As you examine your skin, mark your moles in the appropriate places on the map and number them as you go. Then, there’s a place to document the characteristics of each mole for your records.
Print out 12 copies of the body mole map for each person in your family so everyone can fill it out once a month for a year. This makes it easy to see which moles are changing or taking on concerning characteristics as the months go by.
Know the Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
Becoming intimately familiar with the locations and traits of your moles is important because cancerous moles have unique characteristics. If you notice any of ABCDEs of skin cancer, call a dermatologist right away. These include:
- Asymmetrical moles, where one half looks different from the other
- Borders that are irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined
- Colors that vary from one part of the mole to another
- Diameter that exceeds the size of a pencil eraser (6mm)
- Evolving moles that change color, shape, or size relatively rapidly
At Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology, we have more than 30 years of experience providing skin cancer treatment to Utah residents. Our team of board-certified dermatologists can provide the effective, compassionate service you’re looking for. If you have any troubling moles, or you’re looking for dermatology services in Salt Lake City, please contact Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology online or call us at (801) 682-4715.
Everyone has moles on their skin. According to Everyday Health, it’s normal to have between 10 and 40 moles. Some you’re born with, while others develop later in life. Most moles appear by age 20, but sun exposure can cause more moles to form or make the ones you already have appear darker.
This poses the question—which moles are harmless, and when should you see your doctor for a mole?
Keep an eye on your moles, and be watchful for any new moles or changes to your existing ones. If you have a family history of skin cancer or atypical moles, your doctor may suggest routine evaluations from a dermatologist.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma
The indicators of skin cancer can be labeled A through E. If you see any of them, contact your doctor for advice.
- A is for Asymmetry: Normal moles are small and circular. A mole that looks different on one side than the other might be precancerous.
- B is for Border: A mole with jagged, uneven, or otherwise irregular borders is a cause for concern.
- C is for Color: Most moles are a single color. If yours has various shades of black, brown, red, white, or even blue, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.
- D is for Diameter: Large moles are more likely to be cancerous. Any mole with a diameter larger than a pencil eraser should be evaluated.
- E is for Evolution: A mole that changes size, shape, or color over time could indicate cancer.
Moles to Watch Out For
Keep in mind that moles tend to enlarge and stick out, becoming a skin tag in the process. This is perfectly normal and not a sign of cancer. Most moles are harmless and will never cause problems. However, in addition to knowing your ABCDEs, you should also watch out for these specific types of moles:
- New moles: Not all new moles are dangerous, but be watchful of any that develop after age 20, especially on any areas that get excessive sun exposure.
- Bothersome moles: Any itchy, bleeding, or painful moles deserve an evaluation from a dermatologist.
- Atypical moles: These types of moles showcase the ABCDEs of melanoma. They often run in families and may increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Why See a Doctor About a Mole?
It’s important to consult with a doctor about suspicious moles because they are often early indicators of malignant melanoma, a life-threatening type of skin cancer. Melanoma is nearly 100 percent curable—as long as you receive an early diagnosis and treatment.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology is equipped to examine, diagnose, and remove cancerous moles here at our Salt Lake City office. If you’re suspicious of a strange-looking mole, it never hurts to have it checked out. Call us today at 801-682-4715 to ask any questions or set up an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.
Moles are extremely common, and in the vast majority of cases, they are completely innocent. However, sometimes, a mole can indicate that you have skin cancer. Skin cancer screenings are an important part of preventive healthcare. During these checks, if your dermatologist spots a mole that he or she thinks could be suspicious, he or she may recommend a biopsy. Between appointments with your doctor, you should keep an eye on your moles to detect any changes that would need to be checked by your dermatologist. Here are some of the signs that you should allow your dermatologist to evaluate a mole.
Change in Size
Most adults have at least one mole—and many have between 10 and 40 moles. In most cases, the size of these moles stays constant. However, in other instances, moles may suddenly increase in size. If this happens, consult with your dermatologist. This kind of change can occur in response to the growth of cancerous cells. If skin cancer is to blame, getting an early diagnosis allows treatments to be more effective.
It is not uncommon for new moles to appear, but when they do, your dermatologist should evaluate them. Sometimes, a new mole appears as a result of melanoma, which needs to be diagnosed as early as possible. Your dermatologist can decide if your new mole is a cause for concern.
Itching or Bleeding
Moles typically don’t cause any kind of pain or discomfort. Cancerous changes in the skin can make moles become itchy or start to bleed. These symptoms can be caused by something as minor as dry skin or a skin infection, but since cancer can also be the cause, your dermatologist should check any mole in which this occurs.
Skin cancer screenings are an important part of the skin care provided at Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. Make an appointment with a dermatologist in Salt Lake City for a screening or other skin care services by calling (801) 266-8841.
It’s not uncommon for one person to have dozens of moles. Most of them develop over the course of a lifetime, and the majority of them are nothing to worry about. But because abnormal changes in moles might indicate skin cancer, a dermatologist should check them out. It’s recommended that every adult schedule a skin cancer screening once each year, or perhaps more often if you have a history of skin cancer.
You should have your moles examined and documented. This allows for comparison later on. Moles that grow larger, change in color, or otherwise change dramatically in a short period of time should be examined by a dermatologist promptly. Before you leave your appointment, ask the doctor for tips on performing a skin self-exam at home. Adults should do skin self-checks once per month, although this isn’t a substitute for annual screenings by the doctor.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology in Salt Lake City encourages our neighbors to protect themselves with annual skin cancer screenings . Get in touch with our friendly office staff at (801) 266-8841.
Moles are an extremely common skin issue. They occur when cells called melanocytes grow in a cluster rather than spreading out. These cells are responsible for giving skin its color. Over time, moles typically darken after being exposed to the sun and during periods of hormone fluctuations, such as adolescence and pregnancy.
Most people have up to 60 moles by the time they reach the age of 25 . A few moles are usually present at birth, and then more will emerge during a person’s lifetime. Moles often become darker and more pronounced over the years. In the vast majority of cases, moles are not a cause for concern, but sometimes they can indicate skin cancer. Report any changes in your moles or the appearance of new moles that are asymmetrical in shape or color to your dermatologist right away.
You can trust Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology for all of your skin care needs. Our dermatologists are experienced in both medical and cosmetic dermatology and are ready to help you look and feel your best. Make your appointment for skin care in Salt Lake City by calling (801) 266-8841.
It’s not uncommon for individuals to have developed dozens of moles by the time they are in their mid-20s. Moles are generally harmless, but it is important to monitor your skin for signs of unusual changes and to consult a dermatologist if you notice any abnormalities. For example, some people may experience an itching or burning sensation, especially if a mole sustains physical trauma.
As you’ll learn by watching this video, cancerous growths almost never cause any symptoms that a person can feel such as burning or itching. However, if these abnormal sensations persist longer than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to talk to a dermatologist.
New and current dermatology patients can call (801) 266-8841 to schedule a comprehensive skin cancer screening at Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. Our dermatology clinic in Salt Lake City is devoted to helping our patients become informed about the risks of skin cancer .
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