It is estimated that on average, the normal person has at least ten moles on their skin. However, the number does not go beyond 40 moles, and moles can emerge on any part of your body. Those who are in their early 20s are more likely to experience the emergence of moles.
Mole patterns on your skin are in many cases determined by your genes. However, there are other external factors such as exposure to UV radiation, which may cause the appearance of more moles. Additionally, these UV rays can cause the moles that are already present to darken. Existing moles also tend to darken during pregnancies and during the teen years.
If you suddenly notice a mole on a certain region of your body, you will undoubtedly start to wonder whether the mole is harmless or whether it warrants a visit to your physician. Moles will in many cases appear as small, brown spots on your skin surface that can take on varying colors, sizes and shapes.
Based on its color, shape and the time when it first started developing, the mole may fall into one of the following categories:
Unusual markings, moles, blemishes, lumps and sores in a particular region of your skin could be an indication that you have developed melanoma, or another form of skin cancer. It may also be a warning that skin cancer may develop at any moment.
Having looked at the signs associated with normal moles, it is important to now look at the symptoms associated with melanoma.
For melanoma, its most important indication comes in the form of a new spot that has emerged on your skin. It can also be seen when a spot that was previously present changes its color, shape or size. Another important indication is noticing a spot that is not similar to all the others currently present on your skin surface. This is also called the ugly duckling symptom.
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, make it a point to visit a physician. Another guide to use when checking for melanoma is the ABCDE rule. Here, you need to look for spots that contain features such as:
There are melanomas that do not fit the description above, hence the need to inform your doctor of any spots or changes taking place on your skin. You should also point out any growths that appear to be different from the rest on your body.
Your body’s immune system will start fighting back when it is attacked by cancerous cells. In some cases, the immune system may succeed in fighting it and be able to reduce the size of this cancerous mole. In such cases, you may find that the mole has disappeared completely. The process is typically referred to as regression. Regression normally occurs in ten to twenty percent of all reported melanoma cases.
For individuals whose cancer has not spread to other areas of the body, regression may be good as it can completely get rid of the cancer. However, in the event that the cancer had already metastasized in other areas of your body, a mole’s disappearance will not be an indication that the cancer has left the other parts of the body.
You need to ensure that any mole that is changing its color or constantly disappears before reappearing again is looked at by your doctor. Some moles are harmless and may disappear from time to time, but you need to sit down with your doctor so that he/she can be able to rule out the presence of other health conditions.