Many times, you hear doctors and nurses talk about the importance of watching out for unusual changes in moles and birthmarks in order to catch skin cancer in its earliest stages. Understanding what moles are and how they change when affected by skin cancer will help you better find concerning spots on your skin and determine whether or not it needs to be looked at by a professional.
Only one percent of people are actually born with moles. Most individuals will notice moles appear around the age of puberty and will find that their growth slows down from there, except during pregnancy and sun exposure when they may see an increase in the color and size of a mole. While scientists don’t quite understand why moles are formed, they do know that they are actually benign tumors that develop from melanocytes, which are skin cells responsible for pigmentation.
All moles are not created equal. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, but most of them are typically symmetrical, raised, and quite small with defined borders. The concern for skin cancer comes into play when the mole changes, either in size, color, or shape. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer as it gives little warning before it spreads rapidly and can affect other parts of your body such as your lymph nodes and vital organs.
It is important to know the spots and moles on your body in order to effectively perform self skin examinations to ensure none of them have changed in size, shape, or color. If you are concerned about a spot on your skin and would like it checked out by a dermatologist, call Dr. Doppelt today to schedule an examination to put your mind at ease.