Practically everyone has some brown spots, moles and growths on their skin, which are usually harmless. However it is when you find that your moles are asymmetrical or atypical that it is time to visit a doctor as these moles may be skin cancer moles. This is why it is important that you know your skin well and can recognize changes in your moles.
Moles usually appear within the age of 30; so if you find any moles that appear on your body after the age of 30, it should be watched carefully and referred to your family doctor. Skin cancer moles are usually asymmetrical where if you were to draw a line through the mole, you find that the two halves do not match each other.
Rapid growth in moles is dangerous:
The borders of skin cancer moles are usually uneven with scalloped or notched edges. Variety in the color of moles is another warning; you may find moles with different shades of tan, brown or black or perhaps red, blue or some other color. Skin cancer moles are usually larger than the size of your pencil eraser, but may be smaller when first detected.
The growth potential of the mole will help determine if the mole is a skin cancer mole. On adults, the mole seldom changes in size; so if you find a mole having rapid growth, it may be cancerous. New symptoms in the moles which may be traits of skin cancer moles are bleeding, crusting and itching.
Take pictures to keep a track on growth of moles:
It is difficult to determine skin cancer moles in children as the moles here are not fully grown. However other factors beside size and shape should be taken into consideration when checking children. Some children have more than 100 moles called dysplastic nevi, and are relatively more prone to skin cancer. These moles have to be watched for signs of changes in size and color.
Any doubts should be referred to the doctor immediately, who may take scrapings of the mole, to send for evaluation of cancerous cells. If you have large moles which you suspect to be skin cancer moles, take pictures and measurements of them periodically to make comparisons and ensure that they have not changed.
It is always better to avoid sun exposure and make it a habit to use a high SPF sunscreen when outdoors. This is because skin damage from repeated sun exposure is one of the biggest triggers and causes for skin cancer.