Most of us have multiple skin marks and blemishes all over our body. This makes it quite difficult for the average person to know which blemish is dangerous, and which one is normal. There are many horror stories of skin cancer being discovered too late. This is the main reason why it's really important to have a good look at your skin on a regular basis, and if you find that any of the moles or skin freckles, as they are commonly known, appear slightly abnormal, then do see your dermatologist or family medicine doctor at your earliest convenience.
1. Is your mole irregular in shape?
The first sign that you should take a closer look at your mole is if it tends to be irregular in shape. Most of the times when we look at a particular mole or moles on the skin, they tend to be quite circular or oval in shape. But if you have ones that are slightly irregular on their border or outline, then that can be a sign of an abnormal or a dangerous mole.
2. Is the mole bleeding?
The second feature is a bleeding mole. Does the mole ever bleed? If you've ever noticed that when the mole catches or bumps on an object and starts bleeding slightly, then that could be a sign that it's something more suspicious that needs further investigation.
3. Is the mole itchy?
A normal mole should not cause any symptoms of itch. If you find that one particular mole is itchier than the others and you find that you need to scratch it, then that can be a sign that there might be something more sinister at play.
4. Is the mole growing in size?
Most moles can grow very slowly over time. However, they tend to remain the same size over the majority of someone's lifetime. But if the mole is particularly larger than 6 millimeters and it's growing rapidly or changing in size, then this is something to go and see your doctor about.
Diagnosing a Mole and Possible Treatment
At Aesthetics by King’s College Hospital Dubai, we have access to the latest in mole mapping technology where we use the photo finder system. This allows the doctor to take high-quality digital images of your entire body surface. And if there are any abnormal looking moles, we can look at these moles in even further detail using a dermatoscope camera focusing specifically on any worrisome moles.
What is mole mapping?
The whole idea behind mole mapping is that instead of you looking at your whole body or taking pictures of it using your own camera phone, you are able to see a doctor in a controlled environment where they can methodically and systematically photograph the entire surface of your body and store that information in a very safe and confidential manner for comparison in the future. We recommend that people should have mole mapping done at least once a year. For some people with suspicious lesions, they may be recalled and have mole mapping done more frequently.
One of the advantages of coming to see the doctors at King’s College Hospital Dubai is that everything is done inhouse. So, if one of the family medicine doctors or dermatologists notices that you have an abnormal-looking mole, he/she will be able to directly refer you to our plastic surgery consultants, both based at the Dubai Marina clinic who are experts in the management of skin cancers. If the situation requires any excision of or removal of the mole, it can be done in the most professional manner in order to minimize the risk of scar formation particularly in sensitive areas around the face and other parts of the body.
Dr Ali Razzak – Family Medicine Consultant and Aesthetics Expert at Aesthetics by King’s College Hospital Dubai