How we perform skin cancer screening

Posted by Cedars Dermatology, 4th April 2019

Skin cancer screening is very important for those who have a lot of body or facial moles or are beginning to notice changes in an area of skin with moles. It’s still very common, with nearly 16,000 new cases of melanoma being detected in 2015, but its survival rate is also a whopping 90% when caught and treated according to Cancer Research UK. If you’re noticing changes or are seeking to keep yourself safe, here are the different steps to skin cancer screening in London.

Noticing an atypical mole

Normal moles are round in shape with smooth edges, can be flat or slightly raised, and generally look the same from month to month. Your moles will not be identical to each other, as its common for one mole to be very different to another on the same person. However, there are certain signs you should be aware of that signify changes in your moles:

  • Asymmetrical shape: Moles that develop an irregular outline or are not immediately symmetrical are showing signs of potentially developing into melanoma skin cancer.
  • Irregular borders: Since most moles tend to be circular or somewhat contained in their shape, an asymmetrical border than seems to splash or fan out and blend into the skin can be the signs of skin cancer.
  • Difference colours: A normal mole is usually one colour, brown or black or tan. The presence of more than one colour or an uneven distribution of colour can sometimes be a warning sign of developing melanoma.
  • Size: If you notice a mole growing in size and shape, then this may be a sign of skin cancer developing.
  • Change: Knowing your moles is important to knowing when things are changing. A change in shape, size, texture, and colour to anything that was not there or notable before may be a warning sign.

Mole mapping to prevent skin cancer

Those with numerous moles will benefit from mole mapping, because it takes a detailed look at your moles to note any early changes of warning signs. Cancer Research UK reported that 86% of cases of melanoma skin cancer in 2015 were preventable, so keeping an eye on your moles could be very beneficial to preventing the development and worsening of any warning signs. In this part of skin cancer screening, a dermatologist will perform a detailed consultation and serial body photography of any moles of serious note. This could aid the early detection of melanoma skin cancer. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) does acknowledge that mole mapping is helpful in supporting a diagnosis, but professional opinion should also be consulted.

You should check your own skin every 3 months for any changes and if you are at risk you should seek a professional’s examination once a year. This will help to keep you in safe and detect any warning signs early. When seeking to prevent the development of skin cancer, broad-spectrum sun protection is always the best way. Avoid the sun at its most powerful period, between 11am and 3pm, and always try your best to notice changes.

If you would like to book a mole check or a skin cancer screening in London, get in touch with Cedar’s Dermatology on 0207 307 7467.

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