Beauty marks are completely iconic, thanks to stars like Cindy Crawford and Marilyn Monroe, but sometimes they can turn dangerous. If you've been wondering, "Is my beauty mark cancerous?" scroll the list of warning signs below that you let know if your mole is worth getting checked out. This list isn't meant to scare you at all, but it really could save your life.
In case you didn't know, skin cancer is the most common cancer (over two million Americans are diagnosed each year). The good news, however, is, according to SkinCancer.org, "It is also the easiest to cure, if diagnosed and treated early." The key here, though, is that you have obviously have to be diagnosed to get the necessary treatment. If you think your beauty mark is even remotely suspicious, don't wait to set up an appointment with a doctor.
Whether or not you have a specific spot concerning you, doing "skin checks" (like boob checks!) once a month will help you notice if anything suspicious ever shows up. You can find a full step-by-step skin check guide on SkinCancer.org. To summarize, all you have to do is take time to see if you notice any out of the ordinary spots on your face (including your inner lips!), scalp, hands, arms (including armpits), back (with the help of a mirror), legs, and feet. It only takes about ten minutes max, and could be the key to catching skin cancer earlier on.
If something does seem mildly suspicious during a skin check, below are several of the most common reasons you need to get your mole looked at by a professional.
1. It's Pink & Flaky
If you have a mole that's beginning to get flaky, it could be actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous condition that might lead to squamous cell carcinoma. Dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, told Prevention, "Patients may mistake the scaly patches for eczema" so head to your doc if you're not sure.
2. It's Asymmetrical
When a mole is not symmetrical, SkinCancer.org marked it as a possible warning sign for melanoma.
3. It's Got An Uneven Border
If your mole doesn't have a defined, round border, it's worth getting looked at.
4. It's Multicolored
RedBook pointed out that "melanomas are often multicolored, while benign moles have a uniformity of color." Does that mean all multicolored moles will be cancerous? Of course not, but it's better to be on the safe side.
5. It's The Size Of A Pencil Eraser
While benign moles can totally range in size, most cancerous ones will rarely be larger than six millimeters.
6. It's Evolving
If you've had a mole forever that is suddenly starting to change in size, color, or shape, definitely let your dermatologist know.
7. It's Brand New
Whether or not it seems totally benign, if you notice a brand new mole or spot (especially after you turn 21), just let a doctor take a quick look at it to confirm everything is fine.
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