A mole, also known as a nevus, is a pigmented growth on the skin. While the vast majority of moles are harmless, some can become cancerous. Consequently, many people visit dermatologists to have their moles examined or removed. Many people will have even harmless moles removed because they consider them unattractive or because the mole is somewhere, like under the arm, where it is constantly being rubbed or irritated. Thankfully, we offer a number of mole removal treatment options.
When Should Somebody Get a Mole Removed?
Moles normally appear during childhood. If somebody over 20 finds a new mole, they should at least have a dermatologist examine it. Dermatologists also advise patients to have “ugly duckling” moles removed. An “ugly duckling” mole is one that looks markedly different from the other moles on the patient’s body. It might be notably bigger or a different shade of brown, for example.
A patient should also see a dermatologist if their mole is itchy, painful, or bleeds. They should also see a dermatologist if their mole has a rough, crusty, or scaly texture.
What are the ABCDE Rules?
Dermatologists recommend people perform a monthly self-exam of their skin to check for abnormalities that might indicate skin cancer. The ABCDE rules describe possible indicators of skin cancer in moles. They are as follows:
A = Asymmetry
B = Border
C = Color
D = Diameter
E = Evolving
Asymmetry means that the two halves of a mole don’t match. A healthy mole will have matching halves, while a cancerous mole often won’t.
Border refers to the fact that there is a distinct border between the mole and the surrounding skin. The border of a normal mole is also smooth and regular, while a cancerous mole might have a jagged border.
Moles are typically some shade of brown, and a normal mole will be the same shade of brown throughout. A cancerous mole might contain several different shades of brown, and it might contain other colors, like red, white, or blue.
A healthy mole generally has a diameter no bigger than that of a pencil eraser. A cancerous mole will often be larger.
Evolving describes moles that change over time. Once a mole appears, it should stay the same throughout the patient’s lifetime. If a mole grows larger, changes color, or undergoes some other change, it needs to be seen by a dermatologist.
What Will the Dermatologist Do?
The dermatologist will start by simply examining the mole and comparing it to other moles on the patient’s body. If they decide it looks suspicious, they will perform a biopsy for analysis. The results of the biopsy will determine if mole removal is required. Even if the mole isn’t cancerous, mole removal may still be a good option if the patient doesn’t like the appearance of the mole.
You can learn more about mole removal by scheduling an appointment at Dermatology & Skin Care Associates in Mason. During this appointment, you can get all the facts about your options, including shave excision, punch biopsy, and excisional surgery. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!