What does a cancerous mole look like? • Illuminate Skin Clinics
What does a cancerous mole look like?
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What does a cancerous mole look like?

Mole screening and mole mapping near me, West Malling, Maidstone, Kent

A mole is a small brown or black patch on the skin, similar to a freckle. Most people have moles, and they’re usually harmless. They occur when pigment producing cells grow in a cluster instead of spreading evenly throughout the skin. These cells are called melanocytes, and they make the pigment that gives skin its natural colour. People typically have between 10 to 40 moles on their bodies, but they should be professionally checked if they change in size, shape, or colour.

According to Cancer Research UK, skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, and there are 44 new melanoma skin cancer cases diagnosed in the UK every day. Not only that, but around three million people have missed out on cancer checks due to the pandemic. Melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have increased by almost half (45%) in the last decade alone. However, there is a 90% chance of survival if detected and treated early, so it’s crucial that you check your moles regularly.

It’s essential to know how to check your moles yourself, so you can recognise when there is cause for concern and the main warning signs of something more sinister.

What does a normal mole look like?

Most people have moles on their skin, and it’s good practice to self-monitor or seek professional help for monitoring if you have a lot of them or if you have moles in hard to reach places such as your back. Normal moles are often symmetrical, have a smooth regular border, and are of a consistent colour. Checking your moles regularly means that you’re more likely to spot any changes quickly so that you can get them checked out by a professional and treated if necessary.

Follow the ABCDE method

The easiest way to check is to follow the ‘ABCDE’ rule. The rule is most helpful in recognising melanoma. This model considers five characteristics relating to how the mole looks and how it changes over time.

Asymmetry: Moles to be concerned about will look asymmetrical and have grown at an uneven rate

Borders: Melanomas often have ragged or blurred borders or edges. Normal, healthy moles tend to be much rounder, with smooth, clearly defined borders.

Colour: A normal mole usually has one uniform colour, whereas melanomas are often uneven in colour.

Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger than 6mm, but this isn’t a sure sign of malignant melanoma. A cancerous mole can be smaller than this, and a perfectly healthy mole can be larger.

Evolving: Melanoma will often change in size, shape, and colour over time and may become raised above the skin’s surface.

It’s important to note that not every melanoma will conform to all criteria of the ABCDE model. For example, melanomas that develop from normal skin rather than an existing mole could well be smaller than 6mm in diameter when they are discovered.

Should I have a mole screening?

Although the ABCDE method can be very useful it is certainly not foolproof, and is more useful when used by an experienced clinician. If you have any concerns about your moles or have a lot of moles, especially in hard-to-reach areas, having a mole screening offers an excellent safeguard against skin cancer by catching suspicious moles before they evolve into melanoma.

During our mole screening service, your practitioner will closely examine your moles using a specialised magnifying glass called a dermatoscope which provides high-resolution images of each mole.

Your doctor will also take medical photographs of the areas during your screening. This helps to keep a record of the exact size, colour and location of all the moles on your body and track any changes where necessary.

If your doctor decides that you should be referred or a biopsy is required, we will provide an immediate medical referral to a local dermatologist or your GP.

To find out more about our mole mapping service, click here or book a consultation here.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.

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Aesthetic Award For Best Clinic South

Aesthetic Award For Best Clinic South

Aesthetic Award For Best Clinic South 2019

Runner-Up, Customer Service

Runner-Up, Customer Service

Kent Women in Business 2017

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Kent Women in Business 2017

Runner-Up, Customer Service

Runner-Up, Customer Service

Kent Women in Business 2016

Finalist, Best Clinic South

Finalist, Best Clinic South

My Face My Body 2015

Professional Achievement Award

Professional Achievement Award

Kent Women in Business 2015

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Rising Star Award

Kent Women in Business 2015

Runner-Up, Small Business of the Year

Runner-Up, Small Business of the Year

IBAK 2017

Runner-Up, Service Excellence

Runner-Up, Service Excellence

IBAK 2017

Finalist, Best New Clinic

Finalist, Best New Clinic

My Face, My Body Awards 2015

Finalist, Diamond Awards

Finalist, Diamond Awards

Safety in Beauty 2016

Winner – Best Clinic South England 2019

Winner – Best Clinic South England 2019

Aesthetics Awards

Winner, Growth Award 2017

Winner, Growth Award 2017

IBAK 2017

Winner, Start-Up Business of the Year

Winner, Start-Up Business of the Year

Kent Independent Traders Awards 2015

Bronze

Bronze

Kent Health and Beauty Awards 2015

Start-Up Business of the Year

Start-Up Business of the Year

Kent Women in Business 2015

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