Why and When Should I Worry About Skin Moles
Why and When Should I worry About Skin Moles
What is a Mole?
A normal mole is a lesion on the skin, consists the melanocytes (melanin producing cells). Moles grow when melanocytes, which give skin its natural color, grow in a group instead of being spread uniformly throughout the skin . An individual can have one or more than one mole anywhere on body. Moles can grow on skin of palm, hands, neck, leg, face and even armpits. Moles grows on the skin of body parts which remains exposed to the sunlight, predominantly. Moles can be brown, black, red or tan coloured. Generally, moles emerge in late childhood and adolescence. However, the scientific reason behind emergence of mole is not well-known. Some born with moles, so it can be a result of genetic inheritance. Mostly moles formed on long exposure to sunlight.
Medical term for mole is 'nevus'. Plural for Nevis is 'nevi'.
In indian beauty standards having a mole on chin of a lady is considered as an attractive feature. Isn't it interesting?
Is it Okay to have Moles?
Having common moles are not dangerous, it is pretty normal to having them. But excess count can lead to skin cancer. Medical term for this kind of cancer is 'melanoma'. People having more than 50 moles, have a higher chance to developing melanomas. Monitoring moles is an important step towards detection of skin cancer.
Types of Moles
Moles can be of different types on the basis of their origin.
- Congenital moles-These moles are that people born with. Congenital moles are normally larger in size as compared to others types of moles. Congenital mole can not be cancerous.
- Aquired Moles- Aquired moles are that appear on the skin after birth. Most people have around 10-40 of these on their bodies. Having 50 or more increases the risk of melanoma.
- Atypical mole or dysplastic nevus- Atypical moles are odd in shape and size. They can show more than one color. They have irregular border, and more likely to develop into melanoma.
What is Melanoma?
Melanomas is a most dangerous type of skin cancer. It occurs when the pigment producing cell or melanocytes become cancerous. Becoming cancerous simply means that the cell undergoes uncontrolled cell divisions. Although melonoma is not most common skin cancer, but it is most dangerous, it may even cause death if not get diagnosed on time. The malignant melanoma is a potentially fatal type of skin cancer.
Alternative medical terms used for melonoma are 'cutaneous cancer' and 'melignant melonoma'.
How Moles are Different From Melonoma?
Melanoma is complicated form of moles. Moles when tend to vary in colour, shape and texture converts into melanomas. It is curable only if detected and treated early. It become non-treatable if it start metastasizing from one place to other.
How to Differentiate between Moles and Melanoma?
Here is a simple ABCDE to differentiate between a common mole and a melanoma. This will guide to determine if a spot on skin can be a skin cancer.
'A' is for 'asymmetrical shape'. If the mole is asymmetrical. The easy method to check if the mole is asymmetrical is by matching with other half, if one half is unlike the other half, it is Melanoma. Asymmetrical shape is a sign of melanoma.
'B' is for border. Moles with irregular or serrated border is a feature of malignant melanoma. Normal mole have smooth, regular border, so it is easy to identify the melanoma.
'C' is for color. Color variation is occurring with time and uneven distribution of color is a sign of melanoma. Common moles are of single color. Moles with more than one color are warning sign, and must be consulted with dermatologist, immediately.
'D' is for diameter. If the diameter of the mole is larger than 6 millimeters, that mole is most likely to melanoma.
'E' is for evolving. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, that indicates that mole is evolving into melanoma. Itchiness and bleeding are two common symptoms.
Melignant melanoma may have all the above features or some of them.
Risk Factors for Melanoma
Some determinant conditions which can be cause behind the melanoma are-
1.Having less pigment or fair skin.
Melanin (a pigment which provide color to our skin) prevent our skin from damaging ultraviolet radiations. People with darker complexion, means more pigment in their skin are less prone to melanoma. On other hand, people with fair skin are at higher risk to Melanoma.
2. Hypersensitivity to sunlight
Repetitive, severe, blistering sunburns can increase risk of melanoma.
3.Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiations
Sunlight, tanning lights and beds are sources of UV radiations. Excessive and redundant exposure to UV radiations can increase the risk of dermal cancer such as melanoma.
4. Living closer to equator
People who lives closer to the earth's equator, where the sun's rays are more direct, experience higher amounts of UV radiation.
5. Having more than 50 ordinary moles
Having more than 50 ordinary moles on body is a alarming sign, and it indicates the risk of getting melanoma.
6.People with weak immune system.
People with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Preventive Measures to Protect Our Skin
Ultraviolet radiations are linked with many skin problems. Exposure of naked skin to sun increase risk of getting melanoma. Here are some tips to protect skin from getting skin cancer.
Avoiding peak sun times with bare skin will help at some extent. The time period between 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. is peak sun time, and can cause many dermal problems, if not taken necessary measures.
Using good sunscreen before stepping outside. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Broad-spectrum sunscreen with suitable SPF. . The According to American Academy of Dermatology we must use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
By covering your skin with proper clothing will prevent our skin from the exposure to the sunlight.
How many moles you have?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.