By Sharon Truelove
As Massage Therapists, many times we see anomalies on our client’s skin that they may not be aware of, and it may be appropriate to inform them that we see or feel something suspicious on their skin and suggest that they see their physician to have it checked out.
When something questionable is detected, educate the client how they may continue to assess themselves at home. After pointing out the mole, use the information listed below. Use a mirror if need be for hard to see areas, like the back. Moles and melanoma do not appear similar. After assessing, if there is any concern, a physician should be consulted.
Asymmetry. If a line is drawn down the middle it would create equals halves. Common moles are symmetrical and round, malignant moles are asymmetrical.
Border. Early malignant melanoma edges or borders are uneven, scalloped, or notched.
Color. Common moles are evenly shaded brown. Differing shades of brown or black often are the first sign of a problem. Black moles darker than other surrounding moles should be checked out by a doctor.
Diameter. Common moles are less than ¼ inch in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser); anything larger should be checked out.
Elevated. Common moles are smooth, malignant moles are elevated.
Fast-growing. Common moles do not grow fast, if at all. Malignant moles change size rapidly.
A dermatologist suggested to me that if you suspect a mole or anomaly to be changing, use a digital camera and put a ruler by the area being photographed and date it. Take a picture at a later date using the same orientation and compare them. These photographs can be taken with you to the doctor for reference.
Now for the FUN!! Your challenge this week is to observe 3 different moles on 3 different people. One of those people may be yourself. Apply the a, b, c, d, e, f’s of mole assessment, and report your findings in this week’s blog commentary.