Anytime, but particularly in the summer months is when skin care professionals see higher numbers of patients who are concerned about their moles. However, it’s not because moles look any worse in the summer months, they don’t. It’s basically down to people wearing less and being more self-conscious about them. The golden rule is, ‘if in doubt get it checked out.’
Moles are generally of no medical concern. You can be born with them or develop them during the first 3-4 decades. It’s only when a mole changes or when one suddenly appears out of the blue, particularly after the age of say 40, that you need to be extra vigilant. This is because almost all of the moles we will have in life will be established by them. So anything new is more of a concern going forward.
Of all the different types of cancers out there, skin cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the UK but, thankfully is almost always fully curable. However, one particular skin cancer, namely malignant melanoma needs to be dealt with quickly. Removing melanomas early is absolutely vital, because once they have spread they can be deadly. This makes picking up the signs of an early melanoma really important.
See your GP if you notice:
- An existing mole that has recently changed
- A mole with a ragged/uneven edge
- A mole that has varying shades of colour
- A mole that bleeds, oozes or crusts
- A mole that itches or feels painful
- A mole that is not symmetrical in shape
Another helpful sign used by Healthcare Professionals is the ‘ugly-duckling sign’—cancerous moles often stand out in appearance compared to other moles on a person’s skin. If you have lots of moles, particularly if some are large and slightly irregular looking, it is worth seeing your GP for an assessment and discussion about what to look out for and whether you need monitoring. The important thing to remember here is not to worry. since sometimes non cancerous moles can look suspect.
There are various types of skin cancers, with Malignant Melanoma being the most aggressive. But as long as you don’t bury your head in the sand and you seek early professional medical advice, they are nearly always successfully treated.
There is one other thing to bear in mind, when people see me here at Skin-hub in Winchester about a mole, the mole they are worried about often isn’t in fact a mole. It is often a benign lesion such as a keratosis! That’s great if this is the case, as these are even easier to treat. It’s just always better to safe than very sorry!
For more information on mole removal in Winchester, take a look at our main page on Mole Removal>>