Melanoma and Moles: When Should You Be Concerned About Skin Cancer?

Melanoma and Moles: When Should You Be Concerned About Skin Cancer?

The truth about heavy and frequent exposure to the sun is now known to be dangerous, thanks to the information that has been widely spread as of recent regarding its poor effects on health. What once was a normal summer activity, sun bathing and sun tanning, has turned into strict no-no’s with a good dose of prevention. Wear sunscreen at all times, stay out of the sun’s rays during its peak hours, and stick to bronzers to get your fresh-from-summer look instead. Unlike in the past, when sunbathing and tanning was highly recommended to achieve tanner skin, we are now more aware about proper sun protection, care of our skin, and the realities of skin cancer.

While skin cancer is more common to fair-skinned populations worldwide, it is still an actuality all people should be aware of because of the increase in incidence and mortality rates as of late.

What are the causes?

Exposure to ultraviolet or (UV) rays, particularly UV-B radiation, is an important cause. Due to various environmental factors like ozone depletion, the earth unfortunately receives more UV radiation from the sun today. Recent studies suggest that people with high levels of total sun exposure are significantly more likely to develop cutaneous melanoma in the face and neck. Other factors that pose risk are artificial UV radiation, like tanning beds and lamps, as well as aging, smoking, diet, sunburns early in life, and skin color.

When it comes to the appearance of your skin or if you have moles to worry about, the number of nevi, or moles or birthmark, is more important than the size. More than 100 clinically normal nevi in adults and more than 50 in children increases risk. An atypical mole, like a raised mole, is also worth looking into. Lastly, your genetics is important to note, such as if you have a close relative who has suffered from melanoma.

What should I look out for?

It is always best to seek the doctor’s help. If you notice difference in your moles, such as change in color, size, or shape, as well as if it becomes tender, painful, or crusted, it’s time to visit a professional. These are the early signs to be mindful of. Many patients first discover melanomas via their partners.

The ABCDE guidelines developed by the American Cancer Society is a very useful tool to help in early detection. If a skin lesion is (A) asymmetric, has an irregular (B) border, variated in (C) color, larger than 6mm in (D) diameter, and is (E) elevated, talk to your doctor.

How can I prevent it?

If the moles on your face has raised your concern, examine it and then get a professional skin exam. Here are other prevention tips you need to know:

  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest hours, between 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
  • Do not burn your skin.
  • Avoid tanning beds and lamps.
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen, that means it protects against UVA and
  • UVB with at least SPF 15 for every day and SPF 30 for outdoor activities.
  • Protect your skin with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Apply 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons of sunscreen to your entire body a full 30 minutes before going out into the sun. Reapply every two hours if you’ve gone swimming or have sweat excessively.
  • For babies, keep newborns out of the sun and sunscreen should be used only on babies six months and older.
  • Examine your skin from head to toe every month. Best get the help of your partner to do this, and do the same for them.

As it is often said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same is true when it comes to your skin. Taking proper care of our skin today will not just produce beautiful skin, it creates healthy skin.

To find out more about suspicious moles and moles removal, call us here at The Clifford Clinic at (65) 6532 2400, or send us an email at thecliffordclinic@gmail.com for any queries. You can also book your consultation appointment here.

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