First of all, what is a mole?
A mole or nevus is a dark, raised spot on our skin comprised of skin cells that have grown in a group rather than individually. These cells are called melanocytes and are responsible for producing melanin, the pigment (colour) in our skin.
Moles can form from sun exposure, but we are also born with them, inheriting them genetically. Although number of moles varies from person to person, fair skinned people generally have more moles due to lower amounts of melanin in their skin. Moles can even come and go with hormonal changes such as pregnancy or puberty.
Most people develop more moles on their skin naturally with age and sun exposure, and — most of the time — these moles are harmless. However, we need to conduct skin checks regularly (recommended monthly, especially if you have a relative with skin cancer, or at least every three months) to see if the moles have changed.
20 – 45min
How to know if your mole is safe
They usually have:
- neat edges,
- a smooth or dome-like shape,
- and stay the same shape, size or colour over time.
Warning signs that it may be cancerous
Look for these indicators that your mole may be cancerous:
- A change in size (getting larger)
- A change in shape (especially with irregular edges)
- A change in colour (especially getting darker or exhibiting multiple shades)
- A loss of symmetry
- Itchiness, pain or bleeding (maybe even forming a scab)
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a doctor to have your mole examined.