When it comes to checking your moles, it can be confusing about what to look for. We often don’t take much notice of moles or their appearance unless they change quite suddenly, but it’s important to understand that not all moles are innocent and certain changes could indicate skin cancer.
It’s completely normal to have moles, and most of the time they’re completely harmless. But on occasion, they can develop into non-malignant or malignant skin cancer.
Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer but is also less common than non-malignant skin cancers. This type of cancer arises when there’s a change to the pigment-producing cells of the skin or melanocytes.
The second type of skin cancer is non-malignant skin cancer, most often, non-melanoma skin cancer starts in round cells called basal cells found in the top layer of the skin (epidermis), this type of skin cancer is called basal cell carcinomas (BCC).
Another type of skin cancer is Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), this Non-melanoma skin cancer starts in squamous cells of the skin, which are flat cells found in the outer part of the epidermis.
Rare Types of Skin Cancer
Rare types of non-melanoma skin cancer can also develop. These include Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Skin cancer can develop in both new and old moles. However, it’s advisable to keep an eye out for new ones that suddenly develop, as well as changes in moles you’ve had for a long time or changes to freckles.
It’s important to get a new or existing mole checked out if it:
- Changes shape or looks uneven
- Changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours
- Starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding
- Gets larger or more raised from the skin
Worried about a mole?
If you’re worried about the appearance of a mole, freckle or pimple, please book an appointment to get it checked out.
Most moles are harmless but don’t dismiss your gut instinct. Alternatively, if you have quite a few moles, it may be worth having a full-body mole-map.