When should I check a mole?

10 July 2018

Question

When should I get a mark on my skin checked out? How do you know if there's a problem with it?

Answer

Chris Smith put this question to dermatologist Jane Sterling…

Jane - That's a really important question, particularly this time of the year when people start wearing less clothes and noticing the marks on their body. So I guess we’re really worried about the possibility of could a mark be a skin cancer and they are happening at all ages. But they do get more common as the years go by. But if you've got a mole that looks different to the others and if it's changed then you should certainly get somebody to have a look at it. So, always better to have somebody who can have a close look at a dark patch on your skin, a mole that you think isn't like the rest or is changed. Don’t sit on it or ignore it. Always get it checked out.

Chris - And when you say it's chain how might it have changed.

Jane - Moles do change a little bit with life they sometimes get a bit more sticky out they sometimes changing colour but if you've got a flat mole that's grown and it's not grown with you like you know a child getting bigger, if it's grown and your other moles haven't grown in its diameter or it's got one side of it that's growing more than the rest then that should be a worrying sign.

Chris - And someone would in the first instance go and see their GP like Laurence

Jane - Yeah they'd go and see their GP like Laurence if it may not be a mole because there are other marks on the skin that are brown. So the GP could could certainly say it's in the worrying category or it's not. And then if there's any uncertainty about it they'll be sent into hospital for a second look.

Chris - Thank you Jane for that one and this is a very important topic isn't it because as we mentioned the rates of skin cancer have rocketed in the last 10 - 20 years. They're more than more than a hundred percent increase I think is the statistics.

Jane - I remember I remember when I was a young dermatologist we were all amazed when somebody presented with a melanoma and now it's a daily occurrence.


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