Moles and Melanoma

Serving Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby and surrounding areas

How to recognize a ‘Bad’ mole:

  • ‘A’ – Asymmetrical shape (one half of the mole is not identical to the other)
  • ‘B’ – Border that is irregular, notched or ‘fuzzy’
  • ‘C’ – Colour – more than one colour (brown, black, white, pink, blue)
  • ‘D’ – Diameter – greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)
  • ‘E’ – Evolution – a mole in which one of the above characteristics is changing
  • A mole with some of these features is not necessarily a skin cancer, but should be checked by your doctor

How to check your moles:

  • Examine your skin once per month
  • Stand undressed, three feet in front of a full-length mirror, any moles that you cannot see from three feet away are generally nothing to worry about
  • Try to recognize patterns of the moles in your skin
  • Use a small hand held mirror combined with the full-length mirror to look at your back and the backs of your legs
    • These are the most common locations for melanoma
  • Look for the appearance of new moles and the features described above in the description of “bad” moles
  • Follow up with your doctor at least once a year to have your moles checked
    • If you have any moles that are changing or that you are worried about, you should have them checked sooner

Prevention of Skin Cancer:

  • Wear a hat with a broad brim and protective clothing (e.g. long sleeves)
  • Avoid the outdoors when the sun is strongest between the hours of 10 am to 3 pm
  • Use a sunscreen year round with an SPF of at least 30
  • Wear a sunscreen which resists water and sweating and which protects against both UVA and UVB
  • Reapply sunscreen every hour if you are in water or sweating heavily
  • Wear sunscreen even if you are in the shade, it is still possible to burn
  • Avoid tanning beds
    • The ultraviolet light from tanning beds is known to cause skin cancer