Cancerous moles information
If you have a family history of skin cancer, you may be at risk for developing cancerous moles. For those who are at risk for this potentially deadly disease, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of skin cancer. There are three types of skin cancers, each with their own characteristics and warning signs. Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form, can be treated easily as long as it is caught in its early stages. It appears as a hard, shiny bump on your face, ears or neck, or as a brown or flesh colored, scar-like lesion on the back or chest. Squamous cell carcinoma can also be successfully treated with early detection; it is recognizable as a hard, red node or a scaly, crusty lesion on the skin’s surface. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can be treated if it is caught early, but chances of a cure are decreased if it spreads to other parts of the body (metastasizes). A brown spot with darker speckles, a mole that changes in appearance or bleeds, or a lesion with red, blue or whitish dots can all indicate melanoma. All unusual changes in the skin should be examined for cancer.
How do I know if I have a cancerous mole? If you have a skin mole that suddenly begins to increase in size, develops a crusty, scaly surface, changes shape, or bleeds, there is a possibility that you have skin cancer. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor immediately.
Are all moles cancer risks? No, skin moles are not necessarily an indicator that you will develop skin cancer. However, individuals who have a large number of moles may be at greater risk, as are people who have had at least one serious sunburn or who have fair hair and skin.
How often should I have a skin cancer moles exam? Individuals who are at risk for developing skin cancer should have their moles (and the entire surface of their skin) checked by a physician or dermatologist at least once a year. Early detection is critical for the successful treatment of skin cancer.
Are moles and cancer hereditary? If you have a family history of skin cancer, you are more likely to develop the disease yourself. If any of your family members have ever been diagnosed with skin cancer, it is important to have an annual exam of your skin in order to detect skin cancer in its early stages.
What is the most effective treatment for skin cancer? Excision of the cancerous tissue is the most effective method for curing all types of skin cancer. Your doctor will explain the options available to you; whether you choose conventional cancer surgery or Mohs surgery to remove cancerous moles, early detection is critical.