Posts for tag: Moles
Do you have a mole? Chances are good that you have few of them, actually. The average person has around 30-40 moles, and while moles are usually nothing to worry about it is important to be able to spot any changes that could be warning signs of skin cancer. That’s why you should perform self-exams every month to check the state of your moles. Just because they could be harmless doesn’t mean you should ignore them.
A mole that develops after the age of 30, a mole that bleeds or a changing mole could be a sign of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. This is why it’s important to check your moles regularly. When found early, melanoma is highly treatable. When it comes to pinpointing melanoma your dermatologist may teach you about the ABCDE's of skin cancer:
Asymmetry: If you were to draw a line down the middle of a mole both sides would be completely symmetrical; however, an asymmetrical mole could be a sign of melanoma.
Border: Melanoma is more likely to produce growths that have jagged or poorly defined edges.
Color: Healthy moles are usually a single color, while melanoma will often contain different colors or dark spots.
Diameter: Most healthy moles are smaller than a pencil eraser. If you notice that one or more moles are getting bigger you should speak to your dermatologist.
Evolution: Moles stay relatively the same over time; therefore, if you notice any changes to the size, color, shape, or texture then it’s time to consult with a skincare professional.
Of course, melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer to be on the lookout for. The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas often present as waxy-looking pale bumps on the skin, often on the head or neck, while squamous cells feel like firm nodules that may be smooth at first but become scaly.
Even if you aren’t noticing changes in your moles it’s still a good idea to schedule a skin cancer screening with your dermatologist once a year. Those at an increased risk for skin cancer may want to discuss coming in more often for exams. This exam is non invasive and could just save your life. If you’ve never had a skin cancer screening before it’s high time that you scheduled one.
Over 9,000 people are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every day in the United States according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In addition to taking precautions to protect yourself from harmful UV ray exposure from the sun and tanning beds, monitoring any changes to existing moles or new growths is an important factor in skin cancer prevention. Dr. Marc Meulener, a dermatologist in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ, recommends performing self-checks and scheduling regular skin cancer screenings to protect yourself from skin cancer.
Get Your Moles Checked in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ
Moles are very common and generally harmless, however, changes to the size, shape, color, or texture of an existing mole or new growths should be examined to be on the safe side. In rare cases, an abnormal or atypical mole can be a signal of melanoma risk. Like most forms of cancer, skin cancer is most treatable when diagnosed early, especially with melanoma.
What You Need to Know About Your Moles
Q: What is a mole?
A: Moles are benign growths of melanocytes, the cells responsible for pigmentation in the skin. They are usually black or brown in color and can be flat or raised from the skin, and develop almost anywhere on the body. They are typically round or oval in shape, and can vary in size from small to very large.
Q: What causes moles?
A: Moles form when melanocytes develop in a cluster. Most people have dozens of moles, and they usually appear in childhood and young adulthood. In most cases, they are normal and benign growths and not a cause for concern.
Q: Can moles become cancerous?
A: In rare cases, abnormal and atypical moles can become cancerous over time, or indicate an elevated risk for melanoma. But in most cases moles are benign and not a sign of cancer.
Q: Should I get my mole removed?
A: If you are worried about a mole, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for a consultation. Look out for changes to the size, shape, texture, color, and borders, or if you notice new growths at any time. The dermatologist will thoroughly inspect the mole and order a skin biopsy if the cells look suspicious and remove the mole as a precaution.
Find a Dermatologist in Basking Ridge and Elizabeth, NJ
For more information about skin cancer prevention and treatment and what to look out for, contact Choice Dermatology to schedule an appointment today by calling (908) 766-7546 for Basking Ridge, or (908) 355-0112 for Elizabeth.
It is normal for an adult to have a few moles in various places on the body. Moles are generally harmless, but it is important to keep an eye on them. Changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole can be an indication of possible skin cancer. Regularly checking your skin, as well as periodic exams with a dermatologist, are helpful for detecting early signs of skin cancer. At Choice Dermatology, Dr. Marc Meulener is your dermatologist for skin cancer screening, treatment of skin conditions, and various cosmetic procedures such as botox in Elizabeth and Basking Ridge, NJ.
Possible Signs of Skin Cancer
There are many different types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most deadly type and it tends to develop near moles. As with any type of cancer, early detection of Melanoma is helpful for beating it, which is why it is so important to keep an eye on your moles. Check your moles regularly for changes in their appearance, which can be an indication of melanoma or another type of skin cancer. Look for the following potential warning signs when checking your moles:
- The growth of new moles
- Changes in the color of existing moles
- Changes in the size or shape of existing moles
- Multiple colors within a mole, such as varying shades of brown, black or tan
- Asymmetrical appearance (one side of the mole does not match the other)
- Moles that are large in diameter (normal moles are about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil)
- Itchy or scaly skin on or around the mole
- Moles that are painful or tender
- Oozing or bleeding from a mole
If you observe any of these warning signs in your moles, see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can examine your skin and perform biopsies of any suspicious areas to determine if skin cancer is present. Early detection of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, can significantly improve the prognosis for beating it. If cancer cells are present, the dermatologist can make a treatment recommendation. Not only do dermatologists offer botox and othBotoxsmetic treatments, they also perform skin cancer screenings and treat some types of skin cancer.
Keep an eye on your moles and see a dermatologist if you observe the growth of new moles or changes in the size, shape, or color of existing ones, both of which can be signs of skin cancer. For skin cancer screenings, treatment of skin conditions, or cosmetic treatments such as botox in the Elizabeth area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Meulener by calling the Elizabeth office at (908) 355-0112 or our Basking Ridge office at (908) 766-7546.
Although moles are usually harmless, in some cases they can become cancerous, causing melanoma. For this reason, it is important to regularly examine your skin for any moles that change in size, color, shape, sensation or that bleed. Suspicious or abnormal moles or lesions should always be examined by your dermatologist.
What to Look For
Remember the ABCDE's of melanoma when examining your moles. If your mole fits any of these criteria, you should visit your dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- Border. The border or edges of the mole are poorly defined or irregular.
- Color. The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red.
- Diameter. The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
- Evolution. The mole is changing in size, shape or color.
Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles of the feet and even under the nails. The best way to detect skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stage is by checking your skin regularly and visiting our office for a full-body skin cancer screening. Use this guide to perform a self-exam.
- Use a mirror to examine your entire body, starting at your head and working your way to the toes. Also be sure to check difficult to see areas, including between your fingers and toes, the groin, the soles of your feet and the backs of your knees.
- Pay special attention to the areas exposed to the most sun.
- Don't forget to check your scalp and neck for moles. Use a handheld mirror or ask a family member to help you.
- Develop a mental note or keep a record of all the moles on your body and what they look like. If they do change in any way (color, shape, size, border, etc.), or if any new moles look suspicious, visit your dermatologist right away.
Skin cancer has a high cure rate if detected and treated early. The most common warning sign is a visible change on the skin, a new growth, or a change in an existing mole. Depending on the size and location of the mole, dermatologists may use different methods of mole removal. A body check performed by a dermatologist can help determine whether the moles appearing on the body are pre-cancerous or harmless.
Skin cancer is one the most common of all cancer types, which occurs when malignant cells are found in the outer layers of your skin. More than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States. Although the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise, most cases could be prevented by limiting the skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Skin cancers fall into two major categories: melanoma and non-melanoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal and most commonly appears after the age of 40 in the form of lesions on the head or neck area, which may increase in size or bleed easily.
- Squamous cell carcinoma generally develops in people over 50 with sun-damaged skin. This is the most common form of non-melanoma cancer. These growths appear as flat and red, becoming raised, scaly patches.
- Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, often occurring on the back in men and the legs in women. Risk increases with age, and the average age of detection is between 45-50 years old. It usually appears as a dark flat or raised area on the skin, and is often irregular in shape. Left untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body.
First step: prevention
The good news is that with early detection and treatment, non-melanoma cancers can be cured in over 99% of the cases, and melanoma is readily detectable and usually curable if treated early.
To start protecting your skin, limit sun exposure by seeking shade and always wearing sunscreen, even during the winter months. When possible, wear hats and sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. UV exposure is one of the biggest contributors to skin cancer, which includes tanning booths. People with fair skin, several moles or freckles, or a family history of skin cancer are also at an increased risk for developing skin cancers.
Early detection and self-exams can save your life
Many types of skin cancer grow slowly, while some melanomas can appear very quickly. Detected in its early stages, skin cancer is very treatable. Use a mirror to examine unreachable parts of your body or ask a family member or friend to assist you. Check your moles regularly for any changes in appearance or sensitivity.
Skin cancer may be one of the most common types of cancer, but it is also one of the most preventable and curable. Take steps now to protect your skin, and visit your dermatologist for regular exams and to have any unusual findings checked.