All About Moles and Skin Cancer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) heart disease is the number one killer in the world. However, cancer is not far behind coming in at number three for high-income countries like theUnited States. A deadly but relatively unknown type of cancer is skin cancer.

Skin cancer develops when the DNA in cells becomes damaged beyond repair. For whatever reason, the body is unable to rid itself of these cells and they begin to grow and divide at a rapid rate. Eventually, these cells form a tumor that is visible when it develops on the dermis. Skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to detect in its early stages.

There are three types of skin cancers, but the worst of the three is melanoma. It accounts for approximately 4 percent of the diagnosed skin cancers. It is deadly because it can spread to the lymph system and internal organs with lightning-fast rapidity and about 1 person dies from this cancer every hour. Experts believe this is primarily due to people ignoring the early warning signs of cancer, of which skin moles is one.

What Do Skin Cancer Moles Look Like?

In and of themselves skin moles are harmless. By the time a person reaches adulthood, they will have accumulated up to 40 moles on their face and body. There are five types of moles but only two of those types are potentially problematic. However, all of them can serve as the harbinger of bad news: that cancer cells are growing underneath the mole. No matter how innocuous they may seem, these growths should be checked by a dermatologist on a regular basis, particularly if they change size, shape, or color.

Skin cancer moles can vary in shape and size. It is important check moles according to ABCDE code:

  • Asymmetry: Each half of the mole looks different
  • Border: The mole has ragged, blurred, or irregular edges
  • Color: The mole is multi-colored or varying shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red
  • Diameter: The mole is bigger than a pencil eraser in diameter
  • Evolving: The mole changes dimensions or colors over time.

Treating Non-Cancerous Skin Moles

As noted before, non-cancerous moles are harmless and can be removed if you find them bothersome. Instead of using surgery or some other invasive method of removal, there are products available that will make moles disappear without leaving behind scars or causing unpleasant side effects. Visit homepage to read about some of the top mole removal products available.

What Causes Skin Cancer?

The leading cause of skin cancer is sun exposure. The UV rays from the sun damage the DNA in skin and the damage is cumulative. The more time people spend unprotected in the sun, the greater their chances of getting skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 million skin cancer diagnosis can be avoided each year if people would take more care while out in the sun.

In some cases, skin cancer is inherited. About 5 to 10 percent of people who develop melanoma have a family history of the disease.

Skin Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Skin cancer typically develops in areas that get a lot of sun like the face, lower arms and legs, ears, neck, chest, hands, and even the scalp. However, it can form anywhere on the body including the genitals. The signs of melanoma include:

  • Mole that changes size, color, shape, texture, or that bleeds
  • Irregularly shaped red, white, blue-black, or blue lesions; the colors may intermix
  • Dark lesions on mucus membranes in the mouth, anus, vagina, or nose
  • Dark lesions on the palms, soles of feet, toes, or fingertips
  • Brownish spots with dark speckles