How to Check Your Moles for Skin Cancer or Melanoma
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.
Take note if one half of the mole doesn't match the other.
See if the edges are ragged or irregular.
Check to see if the mole has shades of red, white, tan, brown, black, or blue.
Look to see if the mole's diameter is larger than that of a pencil eraser.
Take note if the mole starts to change shape or color.
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!