Wondering if that strange spot on your skin is a freckle, mole, or a form of skin cancer? There are ways to tell. Most people don't really pay much attention to their skin, especially those segments that we can't see easily. Those that are in a high risk group for skin cancer should consider full body photographs made at their dermatologist yearly so that they can keep track of changes in any freckle, mole, or suspicious spots. Take out your mirror and start inspecting because you'll now be able to tell if that little brown spot is a freckle, a mole, or a suspicious area that could indeed be skin cancer.
Freckles are usually found on the face and the arms as small brown spots. They are more common in summer with sun exposure, after a sunburn, and in higher prevalence with people that are fair skinned and with light or red hair. Freckles are sometimes genetic and do not pose any type of health risk to the people that have them. Freckles don't have a real treatment other than using a sunscreen in the summer, but if you really want them removed there are laser treatments that can rid you of them, or you can cover them with makeup. There are those that believe that freckles add character and depth, especially to faces and shoulders. It is a personal opinion and they shouldn't be immediately thought to be rid of as "imperfections".
Moles are brown or black growths on the skin. Moles can be in a single formation or in a group and appear anywhere on the body. They usually appear in childhood and cease around the mid-20s. Moles appearing after age 30 are usually suspicious and need to be monitored. The vast majority of moles are benign and don't pose a threat to those that have them
If any mole bleeds, oozes, itches, or becomes tender and scaly then you will need to see a physician. Changes in any mole that you've had for a while, new moles that pop up, or a mole that becomes tender, should have special attention paid to. There is a simple moniker on when moles become suspicious: A, B, C, D, E.
Asymmetry: When half of the mole does not match with the other half in size.
Border: When the edges or borders of a mole are irregular, blurry, and jagged.
Color: When the color of a mole is not the same, has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
Diameter: When the diameter of the mole in question is over the size of a normal pencil eraser.
Elevation: When part of the mole is raised or becomes elevated from the rest of the skin on the mole.
An asymmetrical mole that has uneven borders. It usually is scalloped. They have black, brown, red, white, or blue shades and will be larger than a pencil's eraser. This can be a new mole or manifest in an already existing mole. This is the most serious form of skin cancer and it can spread throughout the body.This is a curable cancer when it caught early.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
These are red patches that are pink, red, or white bumps that can bleed or ooze. This can only be a new mole, and doesn't manifest in already existing moles. It is easy to treat and usually isn't fatal.
Scaly or Crusty bumps that are tan, pink, red, or skin colored. These can also be patches. They are rough and can itch on occasion. You may find that they are tender to the touch. These usually will appear in the lips, face, ears, scalp, neck, forearms, or backs of the hands. They are precancerous, but don't always turn into cancer. Still they should be removed when they are detected.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This looks like one of three different things: A rough, thick area that looks like a wart, A scaly patch that is red with irregular borders, or an open sore that will crust or bleed. They will not manifest in already existing moles. They are common on the lower lip, face, neck, arms, scalp, backs of hands, and the ears. Another curable cancer when it is detected early.
If you do find a suspicious mole on you, don't panic and call and make an appointment with a dermatologist. They will be able to tell you if it is okay or if there is further looking needed and a biopsy may be ordered. There are times when they will just excise (cut out) the spot and put in a single stitch, or they may opt to freeze it off. Either way, they will have a better knowledge of what it is and the best method of taking care of it. One way or another, you will now have a better idea to the spots on your body and what they really are.
Published by Tina Samuels - Featured Contributor in Lifestyle
Author of three books, Tina Samuels is also the owner of Turtle Trax Hobbies. She s been a freelance writer for 20 years and a small business owner for three. Two of her three books are slated for a Spring 2... View profile
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