Page 25 - Senior Times South Central Michigan July 2020 - 27-07
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 or become more noticeable from sun exposure.
spotting potentially malignant moles, which can signal skin cancer:
• Asymmetry – A healthy mole is sym-
More Sun More Moles – The best way to avoid moles, especially those that can be cancerous, is to protect yourself from the sun.
metrical. This means the left and right
After being in isolation for the past few months, getting outside for some fresh air and vitamin D is need- ed. However, too much sun exposure can be dangerous.
borders. This means that the edges are
You can still enjoy the outdoors by making a conscious effort to keep your- self safe.
• Always wear sunscreen with at least
• Diameter – Healthy moles are usually smaller than six mm across. This is about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil.
30 SPF. Make sure to reapply every
• Evolving – Healthy moles do not change in size, shape or color. If
you notice a mole is getting bigger, changing shapes or getting darker than normal, this could be a sign of a malignant mole.
two hours while you’re outside.
• Choose a daily face lotion with SPF.
• Limit sun exposure, especially
between the hours of 10am and 2pm,
when the sun’s rays are strongest.
• When you are in the sun, wear a hat
Get Your Moles Checked Out – Spotting unhealthy moles can help detect skin cancer early. If you notice a new mole that does not seem normal, get it looked at right away by your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. Don’t wait for more advanced symp- toms to present themselves, such as pain, itching, swelling, or oozing.
and other clothes that cover your skin. • Find shade. If you’re at the beach or
pool, choose a seat under an umbrella or canopy.
Identifying a Healthy Mole from a Cancerous Mole – Most moles are benign. This means they are harmless and do not cause cancer. However, sometimes, moles grow and become malignant. This means they are can- cerous and need to be removed. It is important to keep an eye on all moles. Detecting malignant moles in early stages of growth can help catch skin cancers, like:
• Basal cell carcinoma
• Squamous cell carcinoma
• Melanoma
Treating Cancerous Moles – If caught early enough, surgery to remove the malignant mole may be the only treatment you need. If the cancer has grown and/or spread beyond the skin, you may need more advanced care – like chemotherapy or radiation.
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When monitoring your moles, look for color, shape, and size. These are some of the most common triggers for spotting an abnormal mole.
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Senior Times - JIuly 2020 Page 25
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By: Dr. Zeeshan Tariq, Special to Senior Times IS IT SKIN CANCER?
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. Though most moles on the body are harmless, skin cancer can look very similar to a mole. It’s important to know how to identi- fy when something on your skin isn’t right. There are also steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Moles appear on the body when clusters of cells gather in one area, instead of spreading apart. Moles are often small and appear darker than
the rest of the skin. Most moles are
no cause for concern. In fact, most people have between 10 and 40 moles. Although they can grow at any point in life, most moles appear at birth and in young kids, as well as young adults. Pre-existing moles can also darken
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side look alike.
• Borders – A healthy mole has even
clean and form a circle or oval shape. • Color – Healthy moles are all the
same color – usually a shade of brown. If a mole is unhealthy, it might be black or many different colors.
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