As our longed-for summer draws closer, and we look forward to ditching our winter wardrobe in favour of lighter weight summer clothes, it is also a reminder about our skin. Specifically, our moles, and other skin lesions.
Whilst the majority of skin lesions are fortunately benign, and can be left alone (or removed to improve cosmesis), there are some that need attention. Our Consultant Plastic Surgeons at Purity Bridge are experts in diagnosing and treating all sorts of skin lesions, from benign tags and cysts, through to skin cancers and more.
Whilst there is no substitution for a face to face consultation, with the opportunity for a thorough skin check, we asked our Purity Bridge team for their advice on what to look for…
A Purity Bridge Guide to checking moles
The majority of moles are harmless, however, if any develop into melanoma, the most sinister form of skin cancer, they need to be spotted and treated as early as possible, to maximise the chance of cure.
The most important signs are if a mole is new, growing or changing and over half a centimetre in maximal diameter.
More comprehensively, the following is a good aide memoire of what to look for:
A – Asymmetry – if a mole is not symmetrical this is a warning sign
B – Border – benign moles tend to have smooth even borders, but melanomas often have uneven edges
C – Colour – most benign moles are one shade of colour, but melanomas often have a number of different shades
D – Diameter – most benign moles are small, but melanomas tend to be larger, over 5 or 6mm in diameter
E – Evolving – a benign mole doesn’t change, but a melanoma will grow, both in diameter and sometimes in elevation and colour too
There are other forms of skin cancer too, such as Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Basal Cell Carcinomas, BCCs, are very common after we turn 50 and fortunately do not spread. They show up as slowly growing pinkish lumps that never go away and sometimes bleed. If caught early they are easy to deal with but if left and ignored they can present more of a challenge to treat.
If you have concerns about a mole or other skin lesion, contact your GP or seek expert opinion from the team at Purity Bridge on 01892 536 960 or firstname.lastname@example.org