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How to Determine if a Skin Mole is Cancerous

Keeping an eye on skin moles, freckles, and other imperfections is key to catching skin cancer early. If you have a history of skin cancer in your family, it is even more important to watch your skin moles and consult with your doctor.

Skin Cancer Screenings

You can perform a skin cancer screening on your own at home, or you can set an appointment with your dermatologist. Examining moles on a regular basis will help create a baseline. Then, if something were to change on your body, this would be an indication that more testing may be needed to rule out skin cancer.

In general, most moles are benign, or not cancerous. Most commonly, the skin moles that do turn out to be cancer are those that appear later on in life.


What to Look For During a Screening

Whether you are looking at your skin moles yourself or you are having a medical professional look at them, there are a few things to keep in mind. The most common areas of the body that can develop skin cancer are the ones that are most affected by the sun. This includes your face, hands, chest, and arms.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, a healthy mole should be symmetric, uniform in color, and smaller than a pencil eraser.


Warning Signs

Skin moles are very common, but if you find that one of your moles has changed shape, bleeds, oozes, or itches, it is time to see a doctor. Scaly moles or spot and also spots that are tender or painful pose a risk.

You can get pre-screened by your general practitioner, and they can refer you to a dermatologist if they see fit.

It is important to take precautions in order to prevent skin cancer. Limit the amount of time you are exposed to the sun, wear sunscreen, and perform self-examinations to detect something abnormal before it becomes a large issue.

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