What is a Skin Check?

Changes in the size, shape or colour of a mole, or the development of a new mole can indicate skin cancer. All parts of the body from head to toe, including hard-to-see areas such as the lower back and back of the thighs, should be examined for any abnormalities or changes in how the moles look over a course of time.

There is a simple rule called the ABCDE rule, which helps you to realise whether the changes observed in a particular mole are indicative of skin cancer.

  • A  stands for  Asymmetry: Abnormal moles, which can turn out to be cancerous, are asymmetrical, i.e. one half is not identical to the other.
  • B  stands for  Border irregularity: The border of the abnormal mole is uneven and rough.
  • C  stands for  Colour: The colour across the abnormal mole can spread beyond the border/edge of the mole or may vary in shades of tan, brown, black or red, giving a mottled appearance.
  • D  stands for  Diameter: The diameter of the abnormal mole exceeds 6 mm.
  • E  stands for  Evolving: The abnormal mole appears to be changing in shape, size, or colour.

It is also advisable to get your moles examined if you notice that the mole has appeared first in adulthood, and shows signs of bleeding, oozing, itching, or is scaly in appearance.

Your doctor may use dermatoscopy or epiluminescence microscopy (ELM), a hand-held microscope to evaluate the surface of the skin and detect the cancerous nature of the mole. This is a more accurate diagnostic tool. Your doctor may also conduct a biopsy, where a suspicious section of the skin is removed and is sent to the lab for microscopic examination.