The Clifford Clinic is offering teleconsultation services for moles and other skin growths that are suspected to be malignant. You may schedule a consultation with us by:
- Calling us at 6532 2400
- WhatsApp at 8318 6332
The Clifford Clinic is currently using Zoom as our preferred teleconferencing software. Our friendly Patient Care Executive will kindly guide you through this process after you contact us.
If our doctors suspect that your mole might be cancerous during the consultation, we can arrange for it to be removed as soon as possible.
Moles, Skin cancer and melanoma
Skin cancer is one of the more common types of cancer in the world. Among the different types of skin cancer, melanoma is one of the most serious. This usually develops in the melanocytes, which are cells that produce the dark pigment melanin, hence the name.
Melanoma tends to develop in existing moles on the skin, especially large ones, due to the high concentration of melanocytes.
Medical studies still have not found an exact cause for melanoma, but has discovered some associated risk factors as listed below:
- Excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds
- History of sunburns, especially serious ones
- Presence of large moles more than ¼ inches (~6mm) across, or large numbers of moles
- Weakened immune system from disease or medication
- Fairer skin
- Hereditary factors
Although melanoma is associated with UV light exposure, areas concealed from the sun can also develop them. These concealed growths can occur anywhere on the skin, or even in the nose and oral cavities.
How to identify cancerous moles/melanoma
Currently, the only way to tell a cancerous mole apart from a benign one is to undergo a mole removal treatment and send it for a laboratory examination. However, the “ABCDE” guidelines can be useful in assessing the risks of a mole being cancerous:
- Asymmetry: Malignant moles tend to be asymmetrical and have an irregular shape. You can observe this by imagining a line drawn in the middle of the mole. A benign and normal mole should have a roughly equal size and shape on both sides of the line.
- Border: Normal moles usually have sharp, well-defined borders, while abnormal moles tend to fade into the surrounding skin with blurred outlines
- Colour: Normal moles generally have uniform colour, while malignant moles can have uneven patches throughout.
- Diameter: Malignant moles are usually more than ¼ inches (~6mm) across.
- Evolution: If your mole changes in shape, size, colour, texture or any other property over time, it may possibly be malignant. This includes any new pigmented/unusual-looking growths on a normal area of the skin.
The more “ABCDE” signs and symptoms present in your mole, the more likely it is related to skin cancer. In that case, it would be best to seek professional medical help and remove the mole.
How to protect yourself from melanoma and other skin cancers
Most risk factors of melanoma are congenital in nature and there is little you can do about them. However, you can, and should protect yourself from UV exposure, which is definitely under your control. Here is some advice you can follow in order to do so.
1. Avoid the midday sun
In most places, the sunlight is the harshest between 10am to 4pm. You should avoid being outdoors as much as possible during this time even when it is overcast or raining, as clouds do not filter the harmful UV rays well.
2. Always wear sunscreen
Remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30 to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. You should do so even while indoors as sunlight from the windows, as well as blue light from digital screens have a similar effect. A good sunscreen, coupled with a Vitamin C serum, can provide the protection needed from UV radiation, oxidative and free-radical damage associated with skin cancer.
You can visit The Clifford Clinic’s online store for a selection of some sunscreens and Vitamin C serums recommended by our doctors.
3. Cover exposed skin
Other than sunscreen, covering yourself with clothing is also effective in shielding UV radiation from the sun. For the best effects, you should wear dark, tightly-woven clothing. There are also specialised sun-protection garments on the market which you can consider wearing. Finally, remember to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them.
4. Avoid tanning beds and lamps
If you are avoiding the sun, you should avoid these as well, since the UV rays from these are no different from the sun’s rays.
5. Be familiar with your skin
Take note of your general skin tone and texture. If you see any pigmented growths/moles that previously do not exist, do take note of it and observe for a few days. If needed, please do seek medical attention.
What to do if you suspect melanoma/other malignant growths
If you are worried that your mole is malignant, you should seek medical attention. Schedule a teleconsultation with us so our doctors can assess your condition as soon as possible, and remove any possibly malignant growths before they worsen.