Why are mole checks important?

Having moles on your skin is normal, but you should check them regularly. People usually see a dermatologist if there is a change in an existing mole or if they develop a new one. However, regular skin surveillance can help to identify problems early. The most serious skin cancer I treat is melanoma, early detection can significantly affect the outcome.

Risk factors associated with melanoma are:

  • Light skin, hair, and eyes
  • Skin that burns easily
  • Sunbed use
  • Having lots of moles Large moles (>6mm)
  • Personal or family history of melanoma

How do you conduct a mole check?

I usually check all of your skin (including nails, palms and soles) and examine your moles with a specialist device (a dermatoscope) to get a magnified view. The typical things I assess as part of the mole check are:

  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Colour
  • Diameter
  • Evolution
  • Symptoms (e.g. itching, bleeding, pain)

I will take pictures of moles if necessary as part of mole monitoring.

When should I have a mole check?

If you notice any changes in an existing mole or develop a new mole I suggest having this examined by a dermatologist. If you have lots of moles or a combination of the risk factors above then I advise a yearly full skin examination.