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Examine your moles

On average Finnish adults have some 50 benign skin moles. Moles can be categorised into moles you were born with and those that develop later.

“Regular checking is the best way to learn about the moles on your skin.”

Your behaviour can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer. Up to 95% of skin cancers are due to solar UV radiation.

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Regular checking is the best way to learn about the moles on your skin. You should monitor moles that are fast growing, changing in appearance, ulcerated or bleeding. Use a mirror to check areas you do not otherwise see.

It is important to check your skin particularly if you have a sensitive skin type and if you have other characteristics related to an elevated risk of melanoma.

Factors indicating a disposition to melanoma:

  • having a lot of moles (over 100)
  • having had sunburn, especially in childhood but also later
  • having a skin type that easily burns, freckles and ginger hair or fine blond hair
  • a family history of melanoma
  • having been previously affected by melanoma
  • having atypical moles

Melanoma does not look the same as a normal mole: the size, shape, color and edges differ. ABCDE is a simple memory rule that allows you to evaluate the features of a mole:

If you notice that a mole changed or find a new, somewhat different mole your skin, see your doctor. Also, get a mole checked that is reddening, shrinking, or bleeding.

A diagnosis of skin cancer is done by a tissue examination by a pathologist. Melanoma that  is treatable by surgery and the disease prognosis is good. When a melanoma is advanced, it may spread to other organs.

Read more about skin cancer on the All About Cancer website.

The Finnish Cancer Society has brochures that encourage healthy behaviour in the sun.