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You Found A New Mole? You Don't Have To Worry

October 18, 2016

As the days get warmer, the beaches and pools become more crowded with people enjoying the summertime sun. However, protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays in these situations becomes more important than ever. If you find a new mole, it could be more than just a simple discoloration. Luckily, your San Diego, CA dermatologist at Hillcrest Advanced Aesthetic Dermatology can help you learn how to spot new moles and give you peace of mind by taking the proper steps to prevent skin cancer.

I have a new mole. Do I have skin cancer? 

New moles are sometimes nothing to worry about. However, they could be a sign of skin cancer. If you notice a new mole, you should schedule an appointment for an examination with your dermatologist. Spotting irregular moles is easy using the ABCDE method:

  • Asymmetry: Normal moles are round or ovular in shape. If your mole is asymmetrical or an odd shape, you should have it checked out.
  • Border: If your mole has an uneven or jagged border, it could be a sign of skin cancer. Normal moles have a smooth, straight border.
  • Coloring: If your mole is very dark in color or has more than one color within its borders, it could be cause for concern. Moles should be pink to brown in color. The color should also be solid and unchanging throughout the mole.
  • Diameter: Moles which are larger than about 6mm, or the size of a pencil’s eraser, should be checked out by your San Diego dermatologist.
  • Evolving: Moles which change in color, shape, or size could be a sign of skin cancer, especially if they evolve quickly.

Skin Cancer Prevention in San Diego, CA

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid the sun’s harmful rays, especially when they are strongest between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Since this is not possible for many people, there are precautions you can take. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF on any exposed skin before going into the sun. Reapply the sunscreen at least once every two hours, or at least every 30 minutes if you are in the water or perspiring. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face and tightly-knitted, long clothing to protect your the skin on your arms and legs.

How can my dermatologist help?

Your doctor can help you learn to properly examine your skin for signs of skin cancer. If caught early, skin cancer is highly curable. If your doctor believes you have a questionable mole, they will suggest testing to determine if it is cancerous. If so, your doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment for you.

For more information on spotting new moles, please contact Dr. William L. Heimer, MD at Hillcrest Advanced Aesthetic Dermatology in San Diego, CA. Call (619) 299-0700 to schedule your skin examination today!