Skin Cancer Awareness Month - Checking Your Moles

Danielle Lowe
By Danielle Lowe

Danielle Lowe is the Marketing Manager for, ( the UK’s largest aesthetic information website. 

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a time to educate yourself on the causes of skin cancer and how to best prevent it as well as the treatments that are available. According to Cancer Research UK, there are over 16,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer every year in the UK, and this is increasing year on year. Of these cases 86% are preventable.
The earlier skin cancer is spotted and treated the better the outlook is; which is why it is so important to regularly check your skin – especially moles for any changes.
Dr Shaaria, Consultant Dermatologist at sk:n Clinics gives her expert advice on how to prevent skin cancer, what to look out for in moles and what to expect from a mole mapping service…
How can people prevent skin cancer in their daily life?
Certain lifestyle choices can help to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. It is best to avoid becoming sunburnt as much as possible, which can be done by wearing SPF daily, avoiding sunbed use, avoiding the sun when it is at its highest (11 am -3 pm) and wearing clothing that protects and covers the skin, for example, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. I always advise my patients to avoid smoking for many health reasons including preventing cancer. It is crucial that people self-checking for any new or changing moles.
How can people prevent skin cancer in their daily life?
How often should people check their moles?
I think it is a good idea for everyone to check their moles and skin. For those who are high risk for example; have fair skin, have had multiple episodes of sunburn or sunbed use, have a strong family history of skin cancer or have had skin cancer previously then moles should be checked at least once a year. People should also look out for any scaly red marks or bumps that don't heal.
What should people look out for when checking moles?
People should check their moles against the ABCDE criteria (asymmetry, border, colour, diameter, evolution). To monitor any changes yourself you can take photos to keep track however if you are unsure about a mole or have many then it is best to see a dermatologist for a full mole mapping service such as the ones available at sk:n Clinics to be safe.
How does the mole removal process work
How does the mole removal process work?
All moles are removed under local anaesthetic. If removal is for cosmetic reasons, then a shave excision can be performed however if it is to rule out skin cancer then a full excision is needed which will require stitches.
If the mole is for suspected skin cancer, a 2mm margin is needed when removing it. This can cause the scar to be double the size of the mole. If skin cancer is detected, we will then refer the patient back to their GP to be seen under NHS as they will need a multidisciplinary approach.
Mole Mapping at sk:n starts from £145 for your first session. It is advised to have another check after six months, then just one annual appointment going forwards.
You can find out more about Mole Mapping services at sk:n here.

If you want to read more, the experts at Consulting Room really know what they're talking about and have put together some moles, warts, skin tags and benign growths, SPF, Pigmentation and scarring FAQs just for you. 

If you have more questions, you can use the moles, warts, skin tags and benign growths, SPF, Pigmentation and scarring questions feature to talk to our panel of trained medical experts. 

If you're keen to get started with any of these treatments right away then you're in luck - those clever folks also have a list of trusted, accredited Moles, warts, skin tags and benign growths, SPF, Pigmentation and scarring clinics in your area.

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