The providers at Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center are experts in the management and removal of moles. They work with patients as they come to our dermatology offices for routine mole checks. Moles are a common condition of the skin and can develop anywhere on the body, appearing either alone or in clusters. For most, they usually appear in early childhood or at least by age 30. Moles are growths on the skin that are usually small spots, black or brown in color, that result from groups of pigmented cells. While some moles look at a mole as a sign of beauty, some moles can be bothersome, especially if a large collection of them exist on the skin. By adulthood, it’s normal to have anywhere from 10 to 40 moles. Most moles are harmless, but some can develop into cancer. It is important to make a mole check appointment, especially if you notice new mole growths, or if one begins to change in size or shape, itches or bleeds.
Whether you have moles that are bothersome, unattractive or unusual in appearance that could point to a sign of skin cancer, it is time to contact our office of specially-trained professionals to find out your treatment options. Our office specializes in treating a wide variety of moles from those that are benign to cancerous. If we find any moles to be cancerous, we can treat you from the initial consultation to choosing the right procedure to post-op care. We are committed to providing you with the level of care that you require and deserve.
Symptoms of Moles
A typical mole is a brown spot found virtually anywhere on the body, including the fingers, toes, scalp, and even under the fingernails. The most common areas for most to have moles are on the trunk or on the back of an individual. Moles can take on various sizes and shapes, and range in color from black, tan, pink, blue or red. In general, moles are about 6 mm or ¼ of an inch in diameter. While most moles are benign, some can be diagnosed as dysplastic, which means it is an active mole and is changing. This change may result in no visible difference in size, shape, or color, or it could turn into a cancerous growth.
Dermatologists recommend that patients watch for any changes to their moles and get mole checks on an annual basis. It is helpful to use the ABCDE test to remember what to look for to determine whether a mole could be cancerous. Moles could be cancerous if the following characteristics exhibit change:
- Asymmetrical: They are not even or equal in size.
- Borders: They have irregular or scalloped borders.
- Color: They begin to change color or have an uneven color.
- Diameter: They are larger than 6 mm in diameter.
- Evolves: They begin to evolve in color, shape, size or height.
Watch out for a mole that turns either partially or completely black. A patient should call our office immediately if the mole exhibits any of the ABCDE characteristics described above, or is painful, oozes, bleeds, burns, itches, or has appeared out of nowhere. If a person is over the age of 30 and has a mole regrow after it has been previous removed, this is also a warning sign.
How to treat Moles
Most moles do not warrant treatment, but a doctor may need to remove a mole if he/she determines one to be suspicious or cancerous or if a patient complains of discomfort, irritation or cosmetic issues. In surgical excision, the area around the mole will be numbed and then using a scalpel or similar device, the mole and some surrounding skin will be removed. The wound will then be closed with stitches. Sometimes, if the mole is surface-level, a surgical shave can be performed where the area is numbed and a small blade is used to cut all around and beneath the mole. Stitches are not required for this method.