Skin moles are very common and generally aren't issues for most people, but they can be cancerous in some cases. Even moles that were healthy in the past can become cancerous as a result of sun exposure and genetics. It's always extremely important for people to see their doctor once per year so they can get their moles checked out professionally. In the meantime, there are five signs of cancerous skin moles anyone can check for.
Cancerous moles generally don't have any symmetry to them. This means both sides are not equal to each other in size. If any moles you have are not a perfect circle, that should send off some red flags right away. Not all marks that aren't perfect circles have cancer. This really depends on a number of other factors, including genetics.
The border of a cancerous mark is going to be irregular and have scalloped shapes. Regular moles without cancer generally have clean and smooth borders and are distinct in shape. Just like with asymmetry, having a mole with an uneven border doesn't mean it is cancerous. Testing is the only sure way to know whether or not it is.
A variation of color is another red flag warning that a mole might be cancerous. The colors of moles can very anywhere from red to brown and even black. When it has several shades of a color it should be inspected and tested by a professional. A doctor can examine it and then do testing to determine whether or not it's truly cancerous.
If you hold a pencil eraser to your mole, is it bigger than the eraser? If so, you should consider getting it tested right away. This is especially true if you see any of the other signs of cancer on it. Larger moles are a lot more dangerous than those that are smaller in size.
A flat mole is something that is generally going to be benign on the skin. A mole that has risen up from the skin and is elevated is generally considered dangerous. This is an irregularity that can mean cancer; it just depends on the individual.
If you have one or more of these signs on your moles, go to your dermatologist right away. They will take a sample and send it in to be tested for cancerous cells. If there are no problems, you can keep the moles on your body or use various mole removal methods to get rid of skin blemishes. Testing and exams should be done on a yearly basis, especially if skin cancer runs in your family.
Even if you take the proper precautions with UV protection, it's never guaranteed to work. There are a lot of different factors that can cause skin cancer in someone, even if they are completely healthy.
Some other common signs of cancerous moles include:
- Change of texture (including scales)
- Change of color from dark to light
- Surrounding skin is red and irritated
- Itching, pain, tenderness
- Bleeding or pain