Why Check Irregular Moles?
Spring is here with the longer days, warmer weather, and abundant sun.
It is always wise to review the A, B, C, D, E’s of moles. Does the mole have symmetry or Asymmetry? Is the Border well defined, irregular, or ill-defined? Is the Color, tan, brown, pink, red, not uniform, or variegated patterned? Is the Diameter greater than 5 mm or greater than 10 mm? Is the mole growing or Enlarging, despite adulthood? If there is a mole causing any concern, I recommend calling a dermatologist for a consult.
If a “normal” looking mole becomes irritating, itchy, or is prone to spontaneous bleeding, it is always wise to see a dermatologist for removal of the mole and a biopsy. Dermatologists will often look over the body and take note of all suspicious moles or lesions to monitor them over the next 6-12 months. If there are any changes they can be removed and biopsied.
There is always a dreaded diagnosis when a mole returns precancerous or cancerous. I have noticed that most people tend to dwell on the negative diagnosis. I recommend reframing the experience with a positive outlook; replace fear and worry with thankfulness and gratefulness for the early detection and removal.
The cause of most non-melanoma skin cancers are believed to be: sunlight, ultraviolet radiation, and HPV (human papillomavirus). Solar keratoses (discrete, dry, rough, adherent scaly lesion patches) are the most common precursors to Squamous cell cancer, especially at sites of chronic sun exposure in individuals of Northern European heritage. Skin cancers can be caused by ionizing radiation (chronic radiation damage), chronic inflammation, hydrocarbons (tar), and chronic ingestion of inorganic arsenic, among other lesser known causes.
As one of my undergraduate professors would always say, “we live in a Goldilocks world” . . . we need everything “just right”; despite modern fears concerning sun exposure causing cancer, our bodies make vitamin D3 from sun exposure. Vitamin D3 is very important anticancer and immune modulating hormone-vitamin. Exposure to sun light early in the day is also beneficial for mood and allows the proper cycling of melatonin come evening.
Over next few weeks, watch for a post where I’ll discuss the impact nutrition has on your skin in protecting you from sun damage.