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Darren asked...

How should I check my moles?

Tags: cancer

I was wondering what the correct course of action was to check moles. I have a lot of moles particularly on my back, my wife suggested I get them checked. I am 39 and never had them checked before.

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The answer

It’s always worth being aware of any changes to moles because of the small but very important risk of developing a cancerous mole. Most moles develop in the first 30 years of life, and you should be alert for any change to an existing mole or any new mole. Most doctors recommend going by the ‘ABCDE rule’ for moles. Look for:

A – asymmetry (an irregular shaped mole)
B – borders (ragged edges)
C – colour change or a mole that is a different colour in one part than in another
D – diameter (any increase in size, but particularly more than about 6mm across)
E – elevation (raising from the surface, especially if it is irregularly raised).

Most people know they should worry about bleeding moles, but a mole that itches or becomes red should also be checked out.

Having said all this, many of my patients mistake other skin lesions, which don’t carry a risk of cancer, for moles. What services you can get from AXA PPP will depend on the policy you have, but you can always speak to your GP about whether you need regular checks.
 

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