Skin cancer is on the rise around the world. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 2 to 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year. Skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, but especially on areas that are regularly exposed to the sun. This makes the face a vulnerable area. Find out the warning signs of skin cancer moles and how you can make sure your face is safe.
Signs that your mole is safe
Moles that are considered “safe”, or not at risk for cancer, generally have a few common features.
They usually have:
· Neat edges,
· A smooth or dome-like shape,
· Are around ¼ inch (6 mm) in diameter,
· And stay the same shape, size or color over time.
It’s important to take a thorough inventory of the moles on your body so that you can recognize any changes that may occur over time. Understanding what’s normal for your body is key for early skin cancer diagnosis and prevention.
Warning signs of skin cancer moles
Cancer will often develop from a new mole on the body. Sometimes it will also grow from a pre-existing mole. That’s why the key to detecting cancerous moles is staying attuned to changes. Notice if your moles are growing or changing in texture or color over time.
For a rule of thumb, watch out for these warning signs:
· A change in size (getting larger)
· A change in shape (especially with irregular edges)
· A change in color (especially getting darker or exhibiting multiple shades)
· A loss of symmetry (benign moles will be perfectly round or oval and are usually symmetrical)
· Itchiness, pain or bleeding (maybe even forming a scab)
· Exhibiting three different shades of brown or black
· A change in elevation (thickening or raising of a flat mole)
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a doctor to have your mole examined.
The ABCDE tool for checking your moles
Another great tool for checking your moles is something called the ABCDE method. This method is recommended by doctors and dermatologists to spot skin cancer early.
So when you examine your skin, all you have to remember are the ABCDEs of skin cancer:
· Asymmetrical – the mole is distinctly asymmetrical
· Border – the mole has uneven borders
· Colors – the mole contains at least two distinct colors
· Diameter – the mole is bigger than ¼ inch or 6 mm across
· Evolution– the mole evolves in size, shape, color or texture over time