Mole removal is becoming a more sought after treatment, but like most scenarios prevention is better than the cure.
1. Use a good sunblock
Not to sound like your mother, but using a good, broad spectrum sunblock is essential. It protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays by absorbing and/or reflecting them, meaning you are less likely to get cancer and your skin will age better.
Depending on the individual, some sunblocks work better than others. It is advised that you should apply nothing less than an SPF of 30, as anything less will protect your skin for a much smaller period of time.
There are two different types of sunblock: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens absorb the harmful rays before they reach your skin, whereas physical suncreens reflect the rays.
So slap it on!
2. Get your moles checked regularly
This is particularly important for those who are especially covered. If you notice any significant changes in your mole(s), you should schedule an appointment with a Melanoma specialist, who will confirm whether the moles are cancerous or benign.
It is paramount that cancerous moles are removed within their early stages. The further along they are developed, the more likely it will spread to the lymph nodes and the rest of the body.
If the moles are suspected to be cancerous, the patient will undergo a series of scans to ascertain how developed the cancer is, and patients will receive a full analysis of the local skin.
3. Take photos of moles to monitor any changes
If you are not sure whether your moles are changing, take photos on a regular basis. You don’t have to have a swish professional camera to do it; most people have a camera on their phones.
4. Cover up in the sun
If you want to be extra careful while on the beach, cover up your moles with a light cardigan or wear a top that covers the affected area. There’s no harm in being cautious.
5. Look out for tell-tale signs
The main things to look out for when checking your moles are as follows:
- Change in size
- Colour alteration
- Mutation in shape
- Satellite moles (moles that appear around others in a circular formation)
- Blurred or crooked edges of the mole
6. Acquaint yourself with your family medical history
Most people are familiar with their family’s medical history, but if you’re not, ask your parents or grandparents (if you can) whether there are any cases of cancer or serious illness. If there is, make sure you get checked out frequently and take all the precautions you can.
7. See a Melanoma specialist if you suspect anything irregular
It is vital that if you suspect anything irregular you make an appointment with a Melanoma specialist. They will be able to ascertain whether your moles are cancerous or benign, and can help you remove the risk before it develops.
8. Have them removed by a specialist, especially if they are cancerous
Mole removal can be performed in various ways, both surgical and non-surgical.
Most popular methods at PHI:
- Shave excision – This is a surgical option whereby a sharp instrument is used to horizontally remove the mole.
- Surgical excision – The mole and the root is removed via scalpel, under local anaesthetic.
- Laser mole removal – Using a CO2 laser, which is ablative, or a pulsed dye laser which is attracted to the pigment of the mole, moles can be removed and/or reduced in appearance.
9. Wear the correct dressings and look after the treated area after the procedure
If you have undergone surgery or treatment for your moles, it is important that you follow the aftercare steps set out by your surgeon or clinician. If you have been advised to wear a waterproof dressing, make sure that you maintain the wound, cleaning it regularly to avoid infection.
10. Look out for one another
If you are a parent, partner, sibling or friend: help others check their moles. They could have invisible moles (to them), on their back and so forth. They can help you check yours at the same time.
If you have any questions, or would like to book in to have your moles checked by our resident consultation plastic surgeon, Mr Apul Parikh, please call 0207 034 5999 today.