Detection And Treatment Of Cancerous Moles
The average person has between ten and forty moles, medically referred to as Nevi, that generally develop from birth to around the age of forty years. The majority of which will not become cancerous moles.
Moles can be either raised or flat and generally round or oval in shape, measuring under one quarter inch (6 mm). They often appear as flat spots and become raised over time. On occasion the may also return to being flat, fade, and in some cases disappear altogether. Generally these moles are of little medical concern.
Potentially Cancerous Moles
Dysplastic nevi or atypical (abnormal) moles, that appear different, are a cause for concern as they are more likely to turn malignant.
Dysplastic nevi have a much higher incidence of developing into skin cancer than ordinary moles, so it is important to monitor your moles on a regular basis, to observe any changes that may have occurred. Early referral to a medical specialist is of the utmost importance if they alter, such as a change in color or size, or if they irritate in any way.
Melanoma And Cancerous Moles
Melanoma is a virulent form of skin cancer, capable of rapidly spreading to other parts of the body as the cells sub-divide and enter the blood stream. Atypical moles are an easy starting point for the growth of malignant tissue, although it can affect any area of skin, the bowel and eye. Although Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, it is responsible for 75% of all skin cancer deaths.
Detection Of Cancerous Moles
A common method for remembering the signs and symptoms of melanoma is the ABCDE mnemonic
- Asymmetrical moles, where the two halves are not symmetrical
- Border irregularity, where the mole edge is fuzzy or blurred
- Color of mole showing multiple shades (black, brown or pink)
- Diameter of moles larger than 6mm are more likely to be melanomas than smaller moles.
- Enlarging moles over time
Likely Location Of Cancerous Moles
- Neck or head 15% for women, 25% for Men
- Body 15% for women, 35% for Men
- Arm 15% for both men and women
- Leg 55% for women, 25% for men
You are more likely to be at risk of developing cancerous moles if you are a light skinned Caucasian resident in hotter climates. UV exposure needs to be controlled, avoiding skin-burn through wearing high protection factor sun screen and/or covering up, especially at midday when the sun is at its strongest.
Treatment Of Cancerous Moles
Although the incidences of melanoma are on the increase, survival rates are also improving, due to constant research and advances in medical science. The chances of survival are also linked to early diagnosis, so it is extremely important to monitor your moles on a regular basis and not ignore any changes you observe. Never leave anything to doubt with potentially cancerous moles.