Keeping an Eye on Your Moles

When was the last time you saw your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening?

We are seeing a rise in the number of Americans being diagnosed with melanoma, a serious and potential life-threatening form of skin cancer. This is news no one wants to hear, especially our Baton Rouge, LA, dermatologists Dr. William Massengale, Dr. Jessica LeBlanc and Dr. Ashley Record. Here at Atlas Dermatology, our goal is to protect our patients and provide them with the knowledge they need to reduce their risk and catch problems early on when they are highly treatable.

More about Moles

A healthy mole will be,

  • Symmetrical
  • A single color
  • Round with smooth clearly defined edges

Most moles won’t change much over time; however, some may gradually change color, become raised, or even develop hair. While moles are usually nothing to worry about, it’s important that you are performing skin exams on yourself at least once a month so that if any changes do occur, you are the first to know.

Even if you are performing these self-exams regularly, you should still visit your Baton Rouge, LA, skin doctor at least once a year for a professional skin cancer screening. Those who are at an increased risk for skin cancer and those who’ve had skin cancer in the past may want to come in more regularly, as well.

An atypical mole, also referred to as dysplastic nevi, is a mole that has some unusual features that can be detected under a microscope. While these moles are benign, people who have 10 or more atypical moles are at a much higher risk for developing melanoma. While an atypical mole is not skin cancer, it is important to keep a watchful eye on them for any changes to the shape, size, or color.

Risk factors for melanoma include:

  • Having fair skin and hair or light eyes
  • Having freckles
  • A family history of skin cancer (both melanoma and non-melanoma)
  • Photosensitivity
  • Repeated sunburns
  • Having many moles

Here’s how to spot the warning signs of melanoma (it’s easy; just follow your ABCDEs):

  • (A)symmetry: Healthy moles are symmetrical, meaning that you could draw a line down the middle and each half would look identical. Atypical moles are often asymmetrical.
  • (B)order: An atypical or cancerous mole may have a jagged, blurry, or poorly defined border. Healthy moles usually have smooth, clear-cut edges.
  • (C)olor: Like we said above, a healthy mole is usually a single color. Moles with multiple shades of brown, pink, white, black, or blue should be examined by an expert.
  • (D)iameter: While healthy moles can be larger than 6mm, oftentimes, they are smaller. Moles and lesions that are about the size of a pencil eraser will need a closer look from a professional.
  • (E)volving: If you notice that the lesion or growth begins to bleed, itch, or crust over these could also be signs of skin cancer.

Concerned? Give Us a Call

If you need to schedule your annual skin cancer screening then call Atlas Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA, today at (225) 313-4560 or (844) 313-4560, respectively.

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