Mole Checks should be scheduled annually after the age of 30, or anytime an irregular mole is detected. If you have a history of abnormal or “dysplastic moles”, or a family history of Melanoma, Dr. Kayal may recommend checks on a more frequent basis.
- After showering, check yourself in a well-lit room using a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror.
- Start by checking moles and birthmarks you’ve had since birth. Look for changes, especially a new mole or skin discoloration, a sore that does not heal, or any change in the size, shape, texture, or color of an existing mole.
- Look at the front and back of your body in the mirror. Then raise your arms and look at your left and right sides.
- Bend your elbows and look carefully at your fingernails, palms, forearms, and upper arms.
- Examine the back, front and sides of your legs. Look between the buttocks and around the genital area.
- Sit and closely examine your feet, including the toenails, soles, and spaces between the toes.
- Look at your face, neck, ears, and scalp. Use a comb or hair dryer to move your hair so that you can see better. Or get someone else to check your scalp for you.
- If you find anything suspicious, visit a dermatologist right away and ask for a full-body exam.
ABCD’s of Moles and Skin Cancers
Asymmetry – If you could fold the lesion in two, the two halves would not match.
Border - Melanomas often have uneven or blurred borders.
Color - Melanoma typically is not one solid color; rather it contains mixed shads of tan, brown, and black. It can also show traces of red, blue or white.
Diameter - While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller. If you notice a mole different from others, or which changes, itches, or bleeds even if it is smaller than 6 millimeters, you should see a dermatologist.