Moles are a common skin occurrence, and as you grow older, you might be more likely to develop new moles. In most instances, moles are harmless. However, some moles may possess features that can raise concerns about different types of skin cancer.
You should pay careful attention to moles to determine if they are increasing in size. Most typical moles are small in size and do not grow beyond this size. The easiest way to notice changes is to measure moles and take pictures. Sometimes you may need help to document moles because they can appear in locations that are difficult to notice, like on your back. Have someone check your back regularly for any new moles and periodically document them. If this is not an option, look for a mole check service that can help you document moles. When a mole appears to be growing larger, especially rapidly, it is important to speak with your doctor for further testing.
Moles are not typically painful, but if you have a raised mole, it could possibly catch on clothing and cause irritation and pain. Be aware of moles that itch, bleed, or are otherwise painful. Sometimes moles with these features will cause breaks in the skin (ulceration) and may crust over. Typically these types of moles go through repeated cycles of ulceration and crusting over. Not only are these moles suspicious, but they can also cause secondary infections since they cause openings in the skin barrier. Typically, these moles are biopsied after a complete excision and suturing the clear margins together.
There are several unusual features that might occur in suspicious moles. Normal moles are usually symmetrical, meaning they are perfectly round. Suspicious moles may have an abnormal shape. Additionally, they may have irregular borders. Most typical moles have a smooth border all the way around. Suspicious moles may have bumps or other irregularities along the margins. Another concern is the color of a mole. A typical mole is usually a uniform color, whereas suspicious moles may have a variation in color or might be a color other than brown.
You should regularly check all the skin on your body for the presence of new or abnormal moles. When skin cancer is caught in the early stages, it is more likely to be completely treatable and, depending on the type of skin cancer, a complete excision might be the only treatment necessary.