How to Check Your Moles for Skin Cancer or Melanoma

Updated on August 7, 2018
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Lisa has had a few suspicious moles removed, and she has family members who have had melanoma.

An asymmetric mole might be a cancerous mole.
An asymmetric mole might be a cancerous mole. | Source

When Should You Get Your Moles Checked?

We should all be concerned about skin moles and melanoma. No one is immune to cancer, and knowing what to look for when checking your moles is an important precautionary measure. We all have an ugly little mole somewhere on our bodies. There are various types of moles, and some are even considered a beauty mark! But when should you get a mole checked?

The answer is simple: Regularly keep an eye on all of them. You don't need to observe them with a magnifying glass, but just keep track of them so that you know which ones start to change. It can be a little time-consuming if you have a lot of moles, but it's an easy process. More importantly, it's life-saving. Isn't saving your life worth spending a few extra minutes each day?

Identify Suspicious Moles With the ABCDE System

If you have a mole that is larger than a pencil eraser, is raised, has a blue tint, or has recently changed its shape or color, have it looked at by your dermatologist as soon as you can. Moles can turn into melanoma, and skin cancer is easiest to cure if treated early.

To help you remember what to look for when checking your moles, remember the ABCDE system.

A: Asymmetry

Take note if one half of the mole doesn't match the other.

B: Border

See if the edges are ragged or irregular.

C: Color

Check to see if the mole has shades of red, white, tan, brown, black, or blue.

D: Diameter

Look to see if the mole's diameter is larger than that of a pencil eraser.

E: Evolving

Take note if the mole starts to change shape or color.

There are many types of moles—the ones pictured on the left might be cancerous, while the ones on the right are not. Use the ABCDE system to help you identify which is which.
There are many types of moles—the ones pictured on the left might be cancerous, while the ones on the right are not. Use the ABCDE system to help you identify which is which. | Source

How to Keep Track of Changes in Your Moles

Tracking your moles is easy and could save your life. Take a picture of a mole that you think is suspicious and write down the date. Later, if you think that the mole is starting to change, look back at that picture and see what the changes are and how long it's been since it started to change. If you're very prone to moles, consider keeping a notebook handy especially for this purpose.

Check for Moles Where the Sun Don't Shine

Make sure to look for moles all over your body—I've had a few scary-looking moles removed from places that I would have never thought to look at. I'll probably have to remove a few more as well. If melanoma runs in your family, it's even more important to get them checked. My own father had three malignant melanoma skin moles removed from around his eyes.

See a Doctor If You Find Something Suspicious

Every so often in most areas, there are free cancer screenings. It's worth a trip to the clinic if you can't afford to go to the doctor. However, if you notice a mole that looks worrisome and you don't have insurance, you can always call the medical office and ask if they offer charity assistance or financial needs assistance. There are many options to get diagnosed, and you need to look into all of them.

Men and women are equally susceptible to skin cancer. If your loved one doesn't check their skin often, inform them of why they should and what to look out for. Remember, skin cancer is almost 100 % curable if caught early!

How Much Do You Know About Skin Cancer?

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      • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

        Lisa 

        19 months ago from Central USA

        Thank you for your comment. It's really not enough information as there's really nothing such thing as "enough" information as far as I'm concerned.

      • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

        Lisa 

        19 months ago from Central USA

        Thank you so much! It's something you really never care or think about when you're younger. After all, kids and teens are "invincible." Just like I was. I wish someone would have really told me what to look for when I was young

      • cancerkills profile image

        How Cancer Kills 

        4 years ago from Florida

        interesting and informative hub :)

      • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

        Lisa 

        6 years ago from Central USA

        Hope you are doing okay now. Did they get it all?

      • FirstStepsFitness profile image

        FirstStepsFitness 

        6 years ago

        Very informative ! Welcome to hubpages . I was given advice by my plastic surgeon ( basal cell carcinoma) wear sun block ( not sun screen ) daily , reapply often . Wear a wide brim hat ( not a baseball type hat) Keep out of the sun 11 am to 4 pm if possible .

      • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR

        Lisa 

        6 years ago from Central USA

        thanks again for your comment. Just hoping to help someone out there. I never realized the seriousness of these moles until my friend was diagnosed with melanoma.

      • mljdgulley354 profile image

        mljdgulley354 

        6 years ago

        Great information. Pictures were a plus

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