While many people are aware of the various moles on their skin, they may not be familiar with how they change over time and what those changes could possibly indicate about their risk for melanoma. Being familiar with the early signs of skin cancer means you can seek a check-up with a skin cancer doctor as soon as you identify anything that seems suspicious with a mole.
Early detection of melanoma is critical, and doing so can vastly increase your chances of successful treatment. Here are four signs of a suspicious mole you need to know about.
Changes in Size
One of the more obvious signs that a mole could potentially be becoming cancerous is if there has been a change in size. While you may think this only makes a small mole suspicious if it has grown in size, it can also be the case for bigger moles that have become smaller as well.
This means that any change in size is cause for some concern and may warrant a trip to your local skin cancer doctor. As a rule of thumb, if your mole is around 6mm in diameter, make it a point to get it checked at your next doctor’s visit or mole check.
Changes in Colour
Benign and common moles tend to be a single shade of brown, while melanoma can have multiple colours. These types of moles may have different shades of brown or black, but the colours red, white or even blue can also appear.
While there are certainly some moles that naturally change in colour with age due to becoming more raised up out of the skin, any colour change when it comes to moles should be approached cautiously. If you notice any change in colour with your moles, it’s important to book a consultation with a skin cancer doctor.
Sudden Change in Texture
Most common and benign moles tend to have a smooth texture, meaning if you were to trace your finger over the mole, it wouldn’t feel bumpy or rough. When melanoma develops inside of an existing mole, the texture of that mole will often become bumpy or hard.
The lesion may also itch or even bleed, however melanoma lesions rarely cause any pain. It’s likely you’ve had these moles for decades, so keeping track of the texture of a mole is a lot more difficult than keeping track of any changes in size or colour. As this is one of the more subtle signs of melanoma, it’s recommended that you get your moles checked regularly even if you think they’re of little concern.
The Number of Moles on Your Skin Keeps Growing
While it’s normal for moles to appear on your skin during childhood and adolescence, if you notice moles appearing into adulthood, you should see a skin cancer doctor. This is because moles tend to grow in proportion to children and teens, but at some point, that growth should stop – usually in early adulthood. This sign should be taken with exceptional care, especially for those in their 50s or older, as new moles developing after the age of 50 are rare.