Since your childhood, you might have developed moles on your skin. These are common skin growths as a result of pigmented cells that cluster together. According to Chevy Chase moles/nevi specialists at Ali Hendi, MD, typical moles are harmless, and you can have several moles anywhere on your body. However, you can have atypical moles that increase your risk of developing melanoma, a severe skin cancer type. So, how do you know your moles are normal?
When you are born with a mole, it is congenital and develops in your first month of life. Most people develop moles later in their childhood or adulthood, and these moles are called acquired and are commonly caused by sun exposure. This is where you begin understanding your moles. How did you get them?
Check Your Moles
As mentioned earlier, most moles are harmless, but you can have cancerous ones in some cases. One way to help yourself differentiate between the two types of moles is through regular checking of your moles. Cancerous moles will pose different characteristics than normal ones, and you should be keen to look for such changes in your moles. Spend some time investigating your moles or those of your children to note any worrisome changes. Note that when the cancerous moles are caught early, the treatment options can effectively manage the melanoma.
Changes to Observe
When your moles are cancerous, they will be asymmetrical, have uneven color, irregular shape or borders, and be large compared to your typical moles. Sometimes these moles can bleed and become itchy or painful. When you observe such characteristics from your moles or your child, it’s a sign that the moles could be cancerous.
You Can Prevent Moles from Becoming Cancerous.
If you have moles, you are at a higher risk of melanoma than one without. Even if they are harmless, they can become cancerous over time. However, the best thing is that you can avoid this through simple practices.
You can try as much as possible to limit the time you spend in the sun or keep your child out of the sun to avoid severe sunburns. Note that the sun is dangerous between 10 am and 4 pm. Avoid extended exposure during this time as much as possible.
Use sunblock and sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful sunlight rays. When you are out swimming, re-apply the sunscreen at least every two hours after swimming. Do the same for your child.
Take advantage of shades if you are outdoors, and ensure your child has protective gear and clothing such as sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat.
When to Contact the Experts
As you take care and check on your moles regularly, you may notice some changes in your mole. Contact your doctor as soon as possible for the appropriate measures to be taken towards managing the condition. Call your doctor if:
- You observe irregular borders or uneven edges and shape on your moles.
- Your moles have changed in color to red, blue, or black.
- The surface texture of your moles has changed.
- You experience irritation, scaling, scabs, or bleeding in the mole.
Your provider will pick it from there and recommend the necessary treatment options to curb your symptoms and remove the moles where necessary.
Explore more about moles by contacting your provider at Ali Hendi, MD. The skin cancer specialists will help diagnose your moles and offer the necessary help where needed.