Your skin is the largest organ that you have so it’s important to take your skin health seriously. Cancer may be a scary word but when it comes to skin cancer if you’re proactive and keeping track of any changes in your skin, like your moles, it can be extremely treatable. It’s even more important to know your skin if you have fair skin, have many moles on your body, and/or if you have immediate family members with a history of skin cancer.
Doctors recommend that you examine your skin every month. Try to examine the same way every month so you can really be sure if anything has changed. Most moles that people have are benign (non-cancerous). That’s why it’s important to keep track in case you do notice any changes. If you’re not sure what to look for, follow the ABCDEs with your moles.
If any of your moles display any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately:
- Asymmetry: One side of the mole does not match the other half
- Border: The edges or border of the mole are ragged, blurred, or otherwise irregular
- Color: The mole is different colored, or it has multiple shades of brown, black, blue, white, tan, or red
- Diameter: The diameter of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser
- Elevation/Evolution: The mole becomes raised off the skin (elevated), or the mole is changing in some way
Other factors to keep in mind are that the most common location for melanoma for men is on the back. The most common location for women is on the lower leg. Melanoma is also the most common cancer in women ages 25 to 29. It’s important to look out for any new moles after the age of 30. Many growths after age 30 are usually age-associated and harmless but they’re still worth making a note of just to be sure.