Every healthy person has his or her fair share of moles, freckles, skin tags, and birthmarks. As we age and increase our skin’s exposure to the sun over time, our collection of moles and freckles may increase and change. It is up to us to keep track of which skin changes or markings are healthy and which are not. Here are some easy tips to remember as you do your regular self-exams.
Types of Moles and Freckles
• Congenital Moles. These moles are found on the skin at birth and have a greater risk of skin cancer than others.
• Acquired Moles. Most moles are considered acquired and they develop during childhood or early adulthood. While these may develop due to increased sun exposure, they rarely turn into skin cancer.
• Atypical Moles. Otherwise known as dysplastic nevi, these moles tend to have a genetic link. These moles also tend to display characteristic signs of irregularity or melanoma.
Know Your ABCDEs
Atypical moles may potentially change over time. If you remember the “ABCDEs” of melanoma, you can spot problem moles in time for treatment.
A – Asymmetric moles
B – Border irregularity
C – Color variation
D – Diameter larger than an eraser
E- Evolving moles that change size, shape or color over time
Also, make note of any moles that appear after age 20 and have every mole checked if it bleeds, itches or becomes painful.
While regular self-examinations are critical, it is also important to have your skin evaluated by a dermatologist every year. Medical Center Arlington is offering a free skin cancer screening on July 9 at the Texas Oncology Center between 8am and noon. For more information about this free screening event, please call 817-472-4764.
Moles: What to Look For, When to worry (everyday health)
Why Self-Exams are So Important (Skin Cancer Foundation)
Skin Cancer 101