Moles and Cancer

Your ordinary-looking mole could be melanoma. While it may look completely harmless, it is essential to check the moles on your skin for changes, including discoloration, growth, irregular coloring or irregular borders.

How Should I Check for Changes in Moles?

The first step is to recognize that moles can be anywhere on your skin, even the places you can’t see or wouldn’t think to look, like the bottoms of your feet, in your hair and behind your ears. The basic rule is, anywhere you have skin, you should look for moles.

That’s why its important to get a mirror when you conduct your mole check and be ready to be thorough.

Conducting a mole check every three months is a good way to keep yourself honest about what you see and will help you determine if changes have taken place since the last time you looked.

If you see any unusual moles, schedule a consultation with a medically trained professional who specializes in skin care and dermatology. If you are over the age of 20 and have never had a mole check, it’s a good idea to schedule a professional consultation.

Call the Skin & Cancer Center of Scottsdale at (480) 596-1110 to make an appointment for a mole screening.

Important Information About Moles

Most adults have moles on their skin. Moles, or nevi, are usually harmless, but can also be the site of a form of skin cancer called melanoma.

Medically trained professionals in the area of dermatology look for the following indicators when checking a mole for abnormalities:

  • Color: Moles can be a range of colors from light brown to black or red. Irregular coloring in a mole may be a cause for concern.
  • Shape and Size: An asymmetrical mole or one that is particularly large could be cause for concern. Be sure to inform your doctor or dermatologist if you feel that your mole is lopsided, irregular, or bigger than it used to be.
  • Change: If you have had a mole for sometime and notice it changing, it is time to see a specialist. Moles should not change in size or color.

Occasionally, moles can be difficult to find on your body. Since moles do not necessarily always appear on areas of skin which are typically exposed to the sun, it is important to know where to look for them:

  • Nails: Moles can grow under your nails. They may appear as a dark line running through the nail. This is not a typical area for moles to grow. If you notice a mole under your nail, see a doctor, especially if it seems to be growing overtime.
  • In between fingers and toes: We often do not check for skin abnormalities between the tiny crevices of our body. It is important to look for moles in hidden places, like in between your toes to know where they are located.
  • Back: Your back is a difficult area to see. Be sure to check your back in a mirror for moles and note any findings.
  • Genitalia: Moles can grow anywhere. Make sure to check your entire body.

If you have noticed new, irregular or changing moles, it is essential to have them examined.

Call the Skin and Cancer Center of Scottsdale today at (480) 596-1110 for a consultation.