Published: 09/30/2015 - Updated: 05/18/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Moles provide a special badge to each person’s personality, and depending on where they are, they could even be considered to be “sexy”. They’re not always harmless, however, and some moles could even seriously affect your health. That’s why it’s important that you learn to detect which one could pose a malignant risk, tied to skin cancer.
What are the Moles?
First you need to know what moles are, and why they appear. Moles are skin growths that could be marks on the skin, or they could also be raised. They appear when cells produce pigments that grow in groups.
Moles can be red, brown and even black in color. They could be meaty, small or big. They can pop out in visible areas, or they could be hidden somewhere on your body. Before, it was thought that we were all born with a certain number of moles that stayed the same until we died. We now know however that they can continue to appear throughout life.
Preventing and identifying malignant moles
We don’t want to start a panic, but rather, we want to prevent them before it’s too late. It’s important that you notice if your mole changes after it appears, not only in color, but also in size and shape as well.
It’s important to identify it and be careful with intensely dark black moles. Remember that there are two types of moles: benign and malignant, known also as melanoma. The latter are carcinogenic skin tumors, that aren’t detectable by feeling; they don’t itch, burn or hurt. It’s important that you watch them.
If you notice that your mole is asymmetric (no defined shape), it looks like it’s split into two unequal parts, you need to see a specialist. It could be a melanoma. Normally most moles that are spherical or circular don’t pose any problems.
If you notice that your mole doesn’t have definite outlines, and you can’t tell quite where it starts, you need to see a doctor immediately. This could be a high risk mole.
Moles that don’t run the risk of being cancerous have a uniform color throughout. If you see that your mole is one color on one side, and other colors in another part, either lighter or darker, you need to see a specialist. This could be a malignant mole.
Moles should stay the same size, they should not grow. If you notice that your mole grows, you urgently need to see a dermatologist.
If you notice one of these moles in time, or early on enough, you may be able to find a solution to this health problem. We should also point out that a mole could have all of the aforementioned risk factors, and in this case they are more dangerous and must be tended to immediately.
You need carefully observe your skin and differences in moles, birth marks, and melanoma freckles.
Sun exposure and moles
Did you know that if you don’t use sun screen and you frequently expose yourself to the sun’s rays, you could develop melanomas? Currently, this is the way in which a lot of mend and women develop skin cancer.
Genes play another risk factor for developing melanomas and skin cancer. If you have a family history of this, or there are individuals in your family unit that have had skin cancer, it’s important that you let your doctor know so they can perform checks and preventive exams.
According to specialists, people with lighter skin are more often affected by this condition.
Look your body over
One thing doctors recommend is to pay a lot of attention to your body. You need to check you head, face, and even your scalp, your chest, legs, abdomen, behind your ears, your arms, etc. It’s even better if you have someone you trust help you, or that you use a large mirror to reach your back. Don’t forget your feet, your fingers, your armpits, even your genitalia, where a lot of people don’t pay much attention.
You also should forget to check your fingernails and fingers, the soles of your feet, armpits, and external genitalia.
We can’t generalize, but women between the ages of 40 and 50 have been found to experience melanoma more than most people. Also, according to unofficial but referential statistics, the most dangerous types of melanoma are those located on the face. This is because sun rays more easily affect this area of the skin.
In regards to men, cancerous moles were more commonly found on the upper area of the back.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 05/18/2018
About the author