The sudden appearance of a mole on the skin (or the change in a current one) can be a pretty scary experience.
The first thing that you should know is that not all moles are necessarily cancerous, but all moles have the potential to become cancerous, so it’s important to keep an eye on your skin, any moles that you know you might have and any changes that might occur.
Cancerous moles have a few characteristics that set them apart from moles that aren’t harmful; usually, any type of drastic change in the appearance of a mole should warrant a closer look by a medical professional to establish whether or not the mole has the potential to be dangerous.
If you have a family history of cancers or spend a lot of time in the sun, consider yourself at an increased risk.
Here are 9 tips to spot potentially cancerous moles on the skin early.
1. Changes in Shape
If you have a mole that changes shape over time or suddenly appears to be a different shape than it was when you last looked at it, then it might be a reason for concern. As a rule, moles on the skin aren’t supposed to change – and any kind of change in the appearance of a mole’s shape is a sign that you should get it looked at and potentially removed even if it isn’t found to be a cancerous one.
If you start to notice your moles changing in shape, start to document it by taking pictures of the mole every day. After a few days of this, make an appointment with your doctor and show them the pictures of the change in the order it occurred.
This can be a big help to your doctor when it comes to establishing what to do next, and it’s likely that your doctor will either request that the mole be tested, removed or both.