When to be Concerned about a Mole
Just about everyone has a mole, or two, or ten. Moles usually develop when we are young and occur when pigment cells in the skin grow in clusters. They usually fade around the age of 40, but a new mole after the age of 60 might be something you should be concerned about if you or your loved one’s personal care at home provider have noticed a new mole on your elderly loved one.
Common moles are flat or raised patches of discolored skin, usually darker than the person’s original skin color. They can be smooth or rough, have hair growing out of them or not, but are usually symmetrical and one color. They can appear anywhere on the bottom but generally disappear over the years.
Atypical moles are the moles that you might be concerned about if your loved one has had one recently develop. They can develop slowly over the years or seem to appear overnight. Since they also can appear anywhere on the body, it’s important to have someone like a personal care at home provider do occasional back and shoulder checks for moles, especially if your family has a history of skin cancer.
Some signs that a mole may be melanoma are:
It’s multi-colored. A mole that suddenly changes colors or has a mottled look because of multiple color variations is not a common mole.
It’s not symmetrical. Common moles are round or oval, with smoother edges. An atypical mole has uneven edges and really isn’t even a shape – it’s more of a blob or a patch.
It’s larger than normal. Moles can vary in size from small to medium, but a very large mole may need to be examined, especially if it is new or if it has recently grown into that size.
It’s itchy or scabby. Most moles don’t bother us at all. They’re simply a part of our skin. An atypical mole may be itchy or scaly. It might bleed when scratched or develop a scab that won’t heal.
It’s painful. If the mole is painful to the touch, it could be atypical.
There are indicators that might cause your loved one to be more likely to develop melanoma and an atypical mole. If your loved one has any of these, mole checks should occur regularly and anything new that pops up should be examined as quickly as possible for a diagnosis.
Mole risk factors include:
- Lifelong exposure to lots of sun, especially unprotected.
- Having red or blond hair and/or a fair complexion.
- Having lots of moles or freckles since birth.
- Has had multiple severe sunburns that blistered and peeled.
- Has had skin cancer or a family history of skin cancer.
Your loved one’s doctor will do a mole check during his yearly exams but if you, your loved one, or a senior home care provider notice any new changes to his moles in between visits, you should have him go in as soon as possible for review.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Personal Care at Home Services in New Providence NJ, please talk to the caring staff at Generations Home Health Care today. Providing Home Care in Somerset, Essex, Union, Morris, and Hunterdon Counties. Call us today at (908) 290-0691 or (973) 241-4534.
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