Woman & Home: What Makes a Mole Cancerous?

Woman & Home gives seasonal advice on the issues surrounding moles and the risk of skin cancer.  

Figures from Cancer Research UK show that 86% of skin cancer cases are thought to be preventable. However, melanoma rates in the UK have risen faster over the last 30 years than any other of the current top 10 cancers – a trend considered to be influenced by the rise of cheap package holidays in the 60s/70s, plus the fashion for tanning. This makes those in their 50s/60s especially vulnerable.

With many years spent helping clients to deal with unwanted moles and also working in NHS skin cancer reconstruction, Dr Ross Perry is a leading authority on moles.

He explains that any mole could be a potential skin cancer problem:

“…in theory, all moles have the potential to change into a skin cancer.

“Non-cancerous moles are often termed along the lines of how they look, such as warty moles, flat moles, raised moles, flat moles with ring of white around them, and freckles.”

Experts say it’s important to check moles regularly, including childhood moles as well as new ones:

  • The majority of adult melanoma cases are new moles
  • Skin cancer is usually triggered by long-term sun exposure or short periods of over-exposure to the sun
  • The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays penetrate less deeply and cause sunburn, causing visible signs such as redness, peeling and blistering. When the skin goes pink or red, that indicates it’s already been damaged by too much UV radiation.UVA rays go deeper into the skin, causing longer-term invisible damage and danger

Mole Checking – the ABCDE Rule

The Woman & Home feature outlines what to look for in a mole check using the ABCDE rule of suspicious signs:

  • Asymmetry: a mole which has a distorted shape
  • Border: irregular, uneven or poorly defined edge.
  • Colour: patchy, unusual or variable colouration
  • Diameter: large moles i.e. bigger than 6mm across
  • Evolving: the mole is changing in its size, shape or colour – or behaving unusually e.g. discharge, itchy, bleeding

Dr Ross Perry always advises patients to look for the ‘ugly duckling’ sign – a mole that looks significantly different to the others. If in doubt, the first step is to visit the GP to rule out skin cancer or arrange a referral.

Most moles are harmless and will look the same for many years, but any that cause concern should be checked out for peace of mind or early treatment.

Dr Ross Perry

doctor ross perry

Dr Ross Perry regularly provides expert comment and advises the media on a range of skincare and health-related issues.

He has particular expertise in skin surgery mole removal and melanoma; having removed thousands of moles in his career, both within the NHS and privately through Cosmedics Skin Clinics. He provides expert advice on skin cancer, sun damage and sun protection for a variety of UK media and publications.

He is also highly experienced in non-surgical cosmetic and medical treatments such as BOTOX® and dermal fillers, where he has a reputation for excellent results that look entirely natural.

DR ROSS PERRY

Cosmedics Skin Clinics

Cosmedics Skin Clinics was established in 2003 and has built up an excellent reputation for cosmetic and medical treatments, carried out by GMC Registered Doctors.  The company offer a full range of cosmetic treatments, including popular lip enhancement and wrinkle relaxing injections, dermal fillers; plus medical treatments including mole removal, thread vein treatment and excessive sweating injections.

Cosmedics Skin Clinics was has a team of skin treatment doctors and surgeons in their 5 skin clinics across London and Bristol led by Dr Ross Perry.

Call 020 7386 0464 or email enquiries@cosmedics.co.uk to book an appointment.

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