Beauty How-To: Spot A Cancerous Mole
Ladies like Marilyn and Cindy made the mole a thing of beauty, but cancer is turning it into a sight to be feared. While beauty marks add definition and distinction to your face and body, make sure to keep an eye on suspicious looking spots and always keep in mind the ABC’s of skin-sighting. A = Asymmetry:
If you were to draw an imaginary line dividing your mole in half (horizontally and/or vertically), each half of the mole should look the same
B = Border:
The border of a healthy mole is even. If the border is irregular or ragged, the mole could be cancerous.
Color change may be okay for hair, not so much for moles. Be on special alert for moles that are more than one color, especially those with shades such as blue, red, white and black, as well as moles whose colors have changed.
D = Diameter:
A benign mole is relatively small, usually no bigger than 6 millimeters in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser). Take note of moles that grow larger and moles that shrink in size.
E = Elevation and Evolving:
Though many moles are raised, pay attention if one part of the mole is higher than the rest. The elevation of your mole should look uniform, not like a mountain range. Also be suspicious of moles that evolve (or change) in size, color, shape, etc.
And Don’t Forget:
In addition to the alphabetical clues on how to detect suspicious moles, be on the lookout for moles that itch or bleed. They may or may not be cancerous, but have your doctor evaluate them just to be safe. The optimal time to inspect your body for possibly cancerous moles is right after a shower when your skin is wet. Once a month, methodically check your body from head to toe for suspicious moles, including hidden areas such as your scalp and between your fingers and toes. It’s a good idea to measure potentially cancerous moles or take pictures of them to use as benchmarks later.