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.