Moles form when skin cells are damaged by being exposed to sunlight. New moles also form during adolescence and pregnancy due to change in hormone levels and at also at birth through inherited genetics.
The vast majority of moles are benign or non-cancerous and remain stable throughout our lifetime. That said, we shouldn’t be too complacent as it is possible for common moles to develop into melanoma skin cancer.
If a person has more than 50 common moles they are particularly at risk of melanoma skin cancer. Sadly, around 1,500 Australians die each year of melanoma skin cancer.
Dermatologists encourage the public to perform ongoing self-examination of their skin, so that they can identify a potential issue and monitor changes to their skin that take place over time.
A useful framework for thinking about the moles on your skin is the ABCDE skin check rule. If any of your moles display characteristics consistent with the ABCDE rule then it increases the chances of the mole being malignant or cancerous.
A - Asymmetry - one half of the mole doesn’t match the other
B - Border - the mole has an irregular border
C - Colour - the mole does not have a uniform colour
D - Diameter - the mole has a diameter of more than 6mm
E - Evolving - the size, shape or colour of the mole is evolving
It is recommended that if you are routinely exposed to the sun, have a type 1 skin profile or a personal/family history of skin cancer issues you should have a skin cancer check every 12-18 months. Should you have any specific concerns about a mole you should seek immediate medical attention.
It is important to note that whilst melanoma skin cancer can develop from a mole, there a number of other types of melanoma and non-melanoma that are represented by skin growths that do not look like moles.
Over 90% of skin cancers are caused by the cumulative impact of sun exposure. Dermatologists recommend sun protective clothing as the best way to prevent sunburn, skin ageing and skin cancer.
Solbari is the leading UPF 50+ sun protective clothing brand in Australia with customers in over 60 countries. Solbari offers a range of UPF 50+ sun protection clothing, broad brim sun hats, UPF arm sleeves and sun umbrellas.
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