As a trusted dermatologist in Boulder, we want you to know how important it is to be proactive when it comes to your health and specifically skin cancer. Keeping an eye out (and knowing what to look for) for dangerous moles can certainly be a lifesaver. Examining yourself for moles, in addition to limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen, is a great way to help with early detection of skin cancer.
Have you developed any new moles lately? Would you even know if you did? Do you have a family history of melanoma? If so, then you should be examining your body once a month for moles that look differently than the others or those that are only now appearing in your adulthood.
So, where do you start? What do you look for when beginning to examine your moles? Start with a mirror and pay close attention to areas of your body that are most exposed to the sun, such as your head, chest, arms, and hands. If you find a mole that displays any of the following signs, we urge you to have it checked out immediately.
- Asymmetrical moles: Does one half of the mole match the other half?
- Borders: Are the borders of your moles blurred, ragged, or irregular?
- Color: Does the mole have different colors? Does it have shades of brown, tan, blue, black, red, or white?
- Diameter: Is the mole’s diameter larger than a pencil eraser?
- Evolving: Is the mole changing in size, shape, or color?