When Should You Be Concerned About Your Moles?
Summer is a time when dermatologists suddenly see much higher numbers of patients worried about moles, not because moles become nasty at this time of year, but mainly because people take their clothes off and notice them more! The golden rule is if in doubt get it checked out.
Skin cancer is the commonest cancer in the world and is almost always fully curable. However, removing melanomas early is absolutely vital, because once they have spread they can be deadly. This makes picking up the signs of an early melanoma really important.
If you have a mole which is changing in SIZE, SHAPE or COLOUR you should see your GP or a Dermatologist. Melanoma skin cancers can sometimes be identified by the ABCD rule:
- they may be ASYMMETRICAL
- with a jagged BORDER
- containing more than two COLOURS
- be more than five millimetres in DIAMETER (about the size of the end of a pencil).
Another helpful sign used by dermatologists is the ‘ugly-duckling sign’—melanomas often stand out in appearance compared to other moles on a person’s skin. If you have multiple moles, particularly if some are large and slightly irregular looking, it is worth seeing a Dermatologist for an assessment and discussion about what to look out for and whether you need monitoring.