Why Mole Day Isn’t Just for Chemists
Anyone who took at least an introductory chemistry class is probably familiar with Mole Day. For me, that always meant a party and no homework (based on my high school chem class); however, since I started working for an online dermatology company, Mole Day has taken on a new meaning.
Moles and Melanoma
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can grow in or near moles. Often, the first sign of melanoma is a change in a mole or a new mole on your skin. I know that sounds terrifying, but you don’t need to be overly worried about your moles. They are common, and most adults have an average of 10-40 moles on their skin. However, it is important to examine your skin and track any changes.
Personally, I love this paper from the American Academy of Dermatology. Unfortunately, people with fair/light skin, like me, tend to have more moles. With this paper, not only can I mark where moles are located, but I also have a reminder of the ABCDE’s (warning signs) of melanoma to compare moles to:
- Asymmetry – one half unlike the other half
- Border – irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border
- Color – varied from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue
- Diameter – while melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the width of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller
- Evolving – a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends performing a skin exam at least once a year. An easy to remember rule would be to check your birthday suit on your birthday. Or, check your moles on Mole Day.
Have a Mole Checked Online, Anytime
If you have a mole you are concerned about, you can submit photos through DermatologistOnCall for a quick spot check. For dermatologists, looking at digital photos uploaded by online patients mimics what they’ve already experienced during their education and training to become a dermatologist. Knowing how to analyze and diagnose conditions based on images is very familiar to them.