Check those moles

Caption: MELANOMA: But not all moles are cancerous. Photo credit: Wikimedia

ON AVERAGE, men go to their GP half as often as women. It’s important to be aware of changes to your health, and to see your GP immediately if you notice something’s not right.  This week, we look at moles.

Some moles are present at birth, although most develop during the first 30 years of life. People with fair skin often have more moles than people with darker skin and you are more likely to develop lots of moles, or a certain type of mole, if they are common in your family.

Where you were brought up may also make a difference; for example, if you were born in a hot country or have spent many years living in the sun, you may have a lot of small moles.

Most moles are completely harmless.  However, they may be unsightly and affect your confidence. Moles can also be a nuisance, especially if they regularly catch on your clothing or you cut them while shaving.

See your GP if a mole looks unusual or becomes itchy. It can then be checked and removed surgically if needed, although it can be an expensive process.

To minimise the risk of skin cancer, always try to avoid exposure to the sun between 11am and 3pm. Remember ‘slip, slap, slop’ and use a cream with a sun protection factor of at least 15.

Finally, you should check your skin every few months for any new moles that develop (particularly after your teenage years, when new moles become less common) or any changes to existing moles; remember, a mole can change in weeks or months.

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