Detect Skin Cancer by Regularly Checking Your Moles

Health tips for skin self-exams at home to identify problematic moles

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Anyone who has ever had a few bad sunburns as a child is at higher risk for melanoma, but genetics also play a part. People who are fair skinned or have a family history must be more alert.

Identifying "problem moles"

Regardless of their personal risk, everyone in San Diego County should be watching for atypical moles, which tend to be multicolored and asymmetrical. Problem moles are usually located on the head, neck, upper back, torso or lower legs but can be found anywhere on the skin.

Moles should be self-checked monthly. Mirrors and digital photographs can be useful to observe and track them. If one is darker, has ragged borders or appears to be changing, see a dermatologist.

An itchy mole can also be problematic. If a mole just seems more obvious, even if there’s no apparent reason, it’s a good idea to get it checked. Be sure to see a dermatologist at least once a year for a thorough exam.

Recommendations for better skin care

Learn how to detect skin cancer using the ABCDE rule as described by Hugh Greenway, MD, a Scripps Clinic dermatologist.