Why you need to check your moles NOW – The five things to look out for
This Morning: Dr Chris reveals how to check for abnormal moles
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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, so it’s really important to protect yourself from the sun. Now that summer is coming to a close, it’s time to have a good look at your moles to prevent or catch cancer early on. Express.co.uk chatted to the Lead Screening Nurse at The MOLE Clinic, Laura Harker RN to find out why you need to check your moles NOW and the five things to look out for.
Why YOU need to check your moles now
Most skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet (UV) light damaging the DNA in our skin cells.
With the main source of UV light coming from sunlight, it’s important that we pay attention to our skin after spending time outside.
The first sign of melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of one, so that’s why we should all be checking our moles on a regular basis.
Sunburn damages your DNA and puts you at risk of cancer, and there is no such thing as a healthy tan
The Lead Screening Nurse at the MOLE Clinic, Laura Harker, explained: “Our skin changing colour in the sunshine is due to the cells in our body changing to try and protect us from harmful UV rays from the sun.
“So even if you’re not suffering from sunburn, your skin is still showing signs of damage.
“Even if you have darker skin, you should also be aware though your skin might not look affected, damage can still be taking place.”
Can you check your skin yourself?
It’s recommended you get a yearly mole check by a professional, especially if you spend continued time outside.
You should regularly check your own skin to see if you’ve got any new moles or other skin lesions, or if any existing ones have changed.
Laura added: “Another warning sign is when a mole stands out and looks different to other moles – this is called the ‘ugly duckling.’
“A normal mole changes so slowly that change should not be very noticeable, and a normal mole usually looks like those around it.”
Ask a family member or a friend to examine your back, Laura suggested.
The screening nurse said: “Taking a photograph is helpful to monitor anything new or changing.
“If you have a concern about a mole or moles you should see your GP as soon as possible.”
The five things to look out for
Melanoma can appear initially as an unusual, new or changing mole and therefore we advise individuals to follow the ‘ABCDE’ rule.
Check for these five things, and if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions you should see your GP or a skin specialist:
A – Asymmetry
Look for moles that are asymmetrical in shape, where one half of the mole is unlike the other.
B – Border
Does the mole have an irregular border? Is it scalloped, jagged or poorly defined?
C – Colour and Comparison
Does the mole have more than one colour and does the mole look different to your other moles?
D – Diameter
Check the diameter of the mole to see if it is bigger than 7mm (about the size of the end of a pencil).
However, most skin cancers start off smaller than this and it is important to check for any lesion that is new, changing or unusual, regardless of size.
E – Evolving
Is the mole evolving or changing size shape or colour?
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