While moles are common amongst men and women, they are also associated with melanoma, which is a deadly form of skin cancer. It’s for this reason that many people want to get rid of their moles sooner rather than later.
However, removing all of your moles is neither practical nor possible.
When should a mole be removed?
Before a mole is removed, one of the following factors must first be present:
- The patient feels that their mole looks unattractive or it’s in an area where it can be frequently damaged
- Your doctor feels that the mole looks unusual and should be tested
- The mole has changed over the last few weeks or months
The ABCDE’s of moles
Anytime that a mole changes in size, shape or colour, it needs to be looked at. Also, if it’s always itchy or there is ulceration or bleeding, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Also, if a mole develops after the age of 20, it should always be checked.
A mole removal clinic in Melbourne, The DOC, recommends looking out for these warning signs (ABCDE)
Asymmetry: If you were to cut the mole in half, would the two sides match? If not, consider it a warning sign.
Border: If the border or edges of the mole are irregular, ragged or blurred, you need to have it checked out.
Colour: If the mole has more than one colour, it’s not regular.
Diameter: Is the diameter of the mole bigger than a pencil eraser? If so, it’s time to see a doctor.
Evolving: Lastly, if the mole has recently changed in size, shape or colour, consider it a warning sign.
Why moles change
Changes such as asymmetry and other irregularities will begin to occur once a melanoma begins to develop. The main aim of a mole removal clinic in Melbourne like The DOC, is to catch any melanomas during the early stages when it’s still possible to remove it using excision.
There are people who have a higher risk of developing melanoma. The most common risk factors include:
- People who have more than 75 – 100 moles have a higher risk for melanoma than people who have fewer moles or those who can tan quite easily.
- If you burn rather than tan after spending time in the sun, you have a higher risk of developing melanoma.
- If you have a family history of melanoma or a history of atypical or dysplastic moles, your melanoma risks will be higher.
If you have one or more of these risk factors, it’s important to have your moles checked by a professional on a regular basis.
The mole checklist
Here is a quick mole checklist that you can keep if you ever suspect that a mole may be dangerous:
- Moles should never be larger than a pencil eraser
- If a new mole forms after the age of 20, it needs to be evaluated by a doctor
- Anytime a mole changes, it may be a warning sign
- Pigmented lesions that look suspicious should be evaluated and removed
This information shouldn’t scare you though as most moles won’t lead to any problems. Mole removal is a simple procedure that is only slightly uncomfortable.
Overall, just remember your ABCDEs and have your moles checked on a regular basis.