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When to get your moles checked, after Kevin Jonas recovers from surgery

Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove a cancerous mole (Isabel Infantes/PA Wire)
Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove a cancerous mole (Isabel Infantes/PA Wire)

Kevin Jonas has urged his fans to get their moles checked after he had a cancerous mole removed from his face this week.

The 36-year-old, who is one third of the pop band Jonas Brothers alongside brothers Nick and Joe, posted a video of himself after the surgery to his almost five million followers on Instagram.

“So today I am getting a basal cell carcinoma removed from my head,” he said in the video.

Referencing the mole, he said: “That is an actual little skin cancer guy that just started to grow, and now I have to get surgery to remove it. So, here we go.”

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer that starts in the top layer of skin and can often be easily treated, according to the NHS website.

This post provoked thousands of heartfelt comments and well wishes from fans on social media.

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s official account commented: “So sorry to hear about your BCC, Kevin. Thank you for raising awareness. Early detection is key. Wishing you the best on your recovery journey.”

Skin cancer can be a scary topic to approach, so we have spoken to some skin experts to get their advice on what signs to look out for…

Why is it important to get your moles checked?

The NHS defines moles as “small, coloured spots on the skin” and states that it is normal for babies to be born with moles, for new moles to appear, for moles to fade or disappear as you get older, or to get slightly darker during pregnancy.

However, guidance from the health service encourages people to visit their local GP or a dermatologist if a mole changes in size, shape or colour because it could be a sign of melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Dr Sajjad Rajpar, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, stressed the importance of regular mole checks.

He said: “Regular checks of moles are crucial because early detection of skin cancer significantly improves the chances of successful treatment.

Dermatologist looking through magnifying glass while examining skin of child patient
Dr Sajjad Rajpar stressed the importance of regular mole checks (Alamy/ PA)

“A professional can identify moles that might be problematic before they develop into more severe conditions.

“Early detection is especially important for melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer that can spread to other parts of the body if not caught early.

“Skin cancer can affect individuals at any age, making it important for everyone, including young people, to be vigilant.”

What warning signs should you look out for?

Many of the experts we spoke to encouraged the public to employ the following ABCDE checklist when checking their moles.

A – asymmetry – one half of the mole looks different to the other
B – border irregularity – the edges are uneven or jagged
C – colour variability – the mole is a mixture of different colours
D – diameter – the mole is bigger than 6mm across
E – evolution – the mole has changed in size, shape or colour

Dr Naveen Puri, medical director at Bupa UK Insurance, added: “There are a few other important things to look out for like itching, bleeding or crusting.

“If a mole starts to bleed and you haven’t injured it then you should get it checked by your doctor as soon as you can.”

Dr Ross Perry, founder of Cosmedics Skin Clinics, urged the public to check their whole bodies for suspicious moles every two to three months.

He said: “A general rule is to look for the ‘Ugly Duckling Sign’.

“Normal moles usually look fairly similar to each other, while dangerous ones look noticeably different.

“If there is a mole that just doesn’t look or behave the same as the others, then that could be a cause for concern and it’s worth getting it checked out.

“A malignant melanoma will appear dark black often flat and irregular edge, these are very dangerous with a high risk of spreading, whereas squamous cell carcinoma tends to be a reddish lump on the skin that can bleed and ulcerate.

“Basal cell carcinoma is either a flat red patch of skin that bleeds or is painful but also a reddish lump.”

What is the treatment for moles?

If the GP thinks a mole is likely to be melanoma, you’ll be referred to a specialist in hospital and should get an appointment within two weeks, according to the NHS website.

Dr Puri said that the main treatment for moles is surgery, but other methods can also be used.

“Treatments vary depending on the type of skin cancer you have, its location and your overall health.

“Non-melanoma skin cancer is typically treated with surgery, but radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted medicines, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy may also be used.

Patient getting laser mole removal.
One way to get rid of a suspicious mole is photodynamic therapy (Alamy/PA)

“If you develop skin cancer, a health professional will discuss your treatment options, depending on your cancer to decide your next steps,” explained Dr Puri.

How do you prevent cancerous moles?

The general consensus from the experts we spoke to was to take extra care of your skin in the sun by covering up and applying sun cream to exposed areas.

Dr Puri said that getting the right sun cream – which has a sun protection factor of 30 or above, a UVA label, a star rating of four or five and has water-resistant properties – is very important.

He added: “Make sure your sun cream is still in date, apply it half an hour before going outside and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours.

A young woman who is wearing a hat and is smiling in a swimsuit smeared face with sun protection cream
Doctors urge everyone to regular apply sun cream to avoid skin cancer (Alamy/PA)

“Remember that this doesn’t just apply when you’re on holiday, but when you’re at home and out in the sun too.”

Guidance issued by the NHS states that everyone should try to stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm during the summer, when sunlight is strongest.

Smoking can also increase the risk of developing various types of cancer, says Dr Rajpar, so should be avoided.

Dr Perry also advised people to avoid tanning beds salons as they use UV light.