Inspect your Child’s Skin For These Types of Dangerous Moles
Skin cancer can affect people of all ages, including children. Although melanoma and other forms of skin cancer are rare in children, parents should still be aware of the signs that could indicate problems. Fortunately, most forms of skin cancer are highly treatable if they are caught early.
Skin cancer often appears as a suspicious-looking mole that eventually spreads to the surrounding tissue and other parts of the body as the cancer progresses. Even though most moles are harmless, any moles that look or feel abnormal should be examined by a board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon like Dr. Weitzbuch. Here are specific, typical warning signs that parents should look for in their children’s moles.
Some moles naturally grow larger as a child gets older and are nothing to worry about. However, a mole that grows could be a sign of skin cancer. This definitely may be the case if the mole grows rapidly within a short period of time.
Color Changes/Unusual Color
Moles can also sometimes change color and may not be indicative of cancer. Color changes in moles should still be checked out by Calabasas board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hal Weitzbuch to rule out any serious concerns. Cancerous moles are sometimes uneven in color and contain shades of black, blue, brown or tan. Melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, often appears as a black mole. It is important to note, however, that a harmless type of mole known as a Spitz nevus can resemble melanoma but should still be examined by a dermatologist.
Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser are more susceptible to becoming cancerous. Some children are born with moles that have diameters larger than seven inches and can completely cover parts of the body. Children who have large moles may develop melanomas before the age of 10.
Healthy moles are generally round or oval-shaped. If the shape in one half of a mole is different than the other, this could be an indicator of skin cancer. Cancerous moles may also have jagged borders or appear dome-shaped.
Having Many Moles
Children usually develop new moles as they get older and may have 12 to 20 moles by adulthood. If 50 or more moles are present on a child, it is important to see a dermatologist regularly. Any moles that bleed are cause for concern and should be treated accordingly.
Thanks to modern medicine, most forms of skin cancer can be cured if they are treated before they progress to more advanced stages. Parents can keep their children safe if they check their children’s moles regularly and are aware of the telltale signs of skin cancer.