Skin cancer is extremely common in the United States. One out of every five people will develop skin cancer before they turn 70. However, the good news about skin cancer is that it has a 99 percent 5-year survival rate when it is treated in the early stages.
One of the keys to detecting skin cancer early is being able to tell when a mole isn’t normal.
That’s not always as easy as you might think it would be. To help you identify moles that need medical evaluation on your aging relative, below are 5 differences between normal moles and ones that may be skin cancer.
A normal mole has a regular shape. They are usually symmetrical, meaning that if you were to draw a line down the middle of the mole, both sides would look the same. A mole that may be skin cancer often has an irregular shape. If you drew a line down the center, the two halves would look different from each other.
The outline of a regular mole is a smooth line with no notches or bits jutting out. A possibly cancerous mole does not have a smooth outline. Instead, its edges are notched or scalloped. It’s not a circle, but an irregularly shaped blotch.
Normal moles are pretty small. Cancerous spots, on the other hand, tend to be larger. A doctor should look at anything that is larger than the size of the eraser on a pencil, which is about a fourth of an inch.
Regular moles can be a variety of colors, but they are only one color throughout. Ones that are cancerous are typically darker in color than a normal mole. They may also be uneven in color. You may see darker or lighter spots of color within the mole itself. Colors that may be present are different shades of tan, black, or brown. You might also see white, pink, grey, red, or blue.
Normal moles don’t change with time. They remain the same in color and size. If they are flat, they stay flat. If a mole changes in any way, it should be reported to the senior’s doctor. The only way to know if moles have changed is for seniors to be familiar with the spots on their bodies. This can be accomplished through a monthly home check of all their moles.
Home care can assist your aging relative to watch for signs of skin cancer and to prevent skin cancer as well. A home care provider can help with monthly body checks for unusual looking moles or changes in existing moles. For seniors, doing a body check on their own because of difficulty bending. It’s also difficult for them to look at their own back. Home care providers can also remind older adults to put sunscreen on before they go outside and assist with choosing clothing that will be comfortable and protect their skin.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care Services in Goodyear, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Home Care Resources at (602) 443-4700
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