Thanks to celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Madonna, moles or beauty marks have become completely iconic. And while that little dark speck above your upper lip or on the side of your chin can make you look effortlessly glamorous, it turns out that may be a sign of a something not quite as appealing – skin cancer.
Don’t get us wrong, we don’t want to turn you against your beauty marks. In fact, we think they can be useful in more ways than just making you look like a model straight out of those glossy magazine pages. Usually, it’s hard to figure out the bad stuff that’s going on inside our bodies, and it’s not until signs and symptoms show up that we actually do something about it. Unfortunately, by then, it may be too late.
Moles, on the other hand, can tell you if you have skin cancer. All moles are not cancerous, but then again, all moles aren’t benign either. And since they pretty much pop up on visible areas of your skin, it’s very easy to be on the
Research reports that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the US. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will most likely develop skin cancer at some point in their life. 1
Not all types skin cancers are deadly. However, dermatologists urge people to be on the lookout for melanoma, a type of skin cancer that is not only the most dangerous if not treated at the earliest but also the third most common kind which is currently on the rise. It has been estimated that by 2017, roughly 87,110 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed while the disease is expected to
The good news, however, is that only 2 percent of skin cancers turn out to be melanoma, which means it’s a rare disease.3 Also, melanoma can be easily cured if it’s diagnosed in its early stages. The most obvious telltale sign you need to be on the lookout for is a mole, a mark, or a blemish on your skin.
Melanoma And Cancerous Moles
Melanoma begins in melanocytes – cells in our skin
The leading cause of melanoma is too much exposure to ultraviolet or UV rays from sunlight. Every time your melanocytes come in contact with sunlight, they make produce more melanin that results in your skin becoming dark and developing freckles, a tan, or moles. Most of these, however, are fairly benign.
Sometimes, however, too much exposure to UV radiation can adversely affect the DNA structure in melanocytes. This may cause them to grow and develop into a tumor. Blisters caused by sunburns during childhood years and the excessive use of tanning beds can also put you at an increased risk of melanoma.
Melanoma tumors may often either originate within an existing mole or develop their own lesions that look like moles. The National Cancer Institute claims that people sporting more than 50 moles on their skin are at a greater risk of developing melanoma.4
How To Tell A Cancerous Mole From A Benign One