Family caregivers are responsible for their elderly relative’s health and wellness.
This includes making sure they have healthy meals, take their medicines properly and stay watchful for symptoms of illness and disease. One area of health that many family caregivers overlook is performing mole checks to observe any signs of melanoma. Early detection of melanoma leads to the best chance of a full recovery, so self-checks are very important.
When family caregivers and elder care providers know the ABCDE’s of mole checks, they can help seniors spot any suspicious moles and get them to the doctor. Family caregivers and elder care providers should do mole checks with the elderly adult at least twice per year to identify possible skin cancer symptoms.
A is for Asymmetry
A healthy mole is symmetrical, meaning that if a line is drawn through the middle of it, both sides match each other. Another way to describe it is that each half of a mole should be a mirror image of the other. Asymmetrical sides do not match, which means it may be a symptom of melanoma.
B is for Borders
A melanoma will have an uneven or notched border where the dark mole meets the lighter skin. On a healthy mole, the border is usually smooth and uniform. If a dark spot on the skin is splotchy and uneven at the borders, it needs to be checked out by a doctor.
C is for Color
Moles that are monochromatic—usually all brown—are benign and normal. Melanoma often presents with a few different colors within the same dark spot. Colors can range from brown and black, to tan, red and even white. Having a range of colors is a big warning sign of melanoma.
D is for Diameter
Because cancer cells grow, melanoma spots will eventually get bigger over time. If a mole is growing in size, or a new mole appears that is larger than ¼ inch, it may be malignant. While large moles are not always a sign of melanoma, it’s worth getting them checked out to be sure.
E is for Evolving
Most people develop moles in their teen and adult years and these moles stay the same for decades with little changes. If a mole starts to look noticeably different, it may be a problem. Changes in color and size are particularly important. Sometimes moles develop a crust, or they start to itch or bleed, which is another symptom of melanoma.
When family caregivers and elder care providers know the ABCDE’s of melanoma, they can develop a schedule of regular mole checks with aging adults. If anything looks suspicious or unusual on the skin, it’s worth it to get the aging adult to the doctor for an evaluation. Early detection is key to defeating melanoma before it can evolve into something more serious.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Encinitas, CA, please contact the caring staff at GoldenCare today. Call us at 760-828-5201.