Worried about that mole? Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their skin and moles. If melanoma is detected early, it is almost always curable. From Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL, read on to find out how and when you should check yourself for moles .
When Should I Look for Moles?
Skin cancer can arise at any age but most commonly occurs after puberty. Although the average age of diagnosis is 52, skin cancer is the second most common cancer in individuals aged 15-29.
Making a habit of examining your skin on a regular basis will help detect any abnormal growths. Dermatologists recommend that you conduct a self-exam once a month, looking for any new skin moles and changes in the skin moles you already have.
How Do I Check Myself for Moles?
When checking your skin, remember to examine the front and back of your body, then right and left with your arms up. Inspect your neck, back, and upper arms, and look at the backs of your feet and legs as well as your soles and in-between your toes.
Melanoma usually occurs on sun-exposed areas of the body— but skin cancer doesn’t always follow the rules. You should check your skin thoroughly and look at places that are usually covered by clothing.
When is a Mole Not Just a Mole?
Most benign moles are often a single shade of brown. Melanoma may become white, blue, or red or have a number of shades of brown. Benign skin moles have a smooth and even border, unlike cancerous moles. The borders of melanoma tend to be uneven and the edges are notched or scalloped.
If you have skin moles that look similar to one another, then they are probably benign. Additionally, if you have moles that have been with you for decades without significant change, that is usually a sign that you don't need to worry about them.
Call North Branch Dermatology LLC
If you need a mole check and live in the Chicago area, call North Branch Dermatology at 773-763-6000 to make an appointment today. Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in diseases of the skin, including skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. Take charge of your own health.