Almost all adults have moles, but that doesn’t mean all moles are harmless. New or changing moles could be a warning sign of skin cancer, so experienced Board-Certified Dermatologist Hobart K. Richey, MD, can expertly evaluate your mole and, if necessary, remove it in his Venice, Florida, office. Book your appointment online or call the Hobart K. Richey, MD, PA, office to schedule a mole evaluation now.
Moles (also, nevi) are skin growths that develop when skin cells called melanocytes clump together. Melanocytes make melanin, which creates color in the skin. So, when the cells cluster, it causes a deeper-than-usual color deposit.
Most moles have the following characteristics.
Moles are generally a single color. Typically, they’re brown, but they can be almost any color, including black, red, blue, pink, or the same color as the surrounding skin.
Moles are generally round and flat, but they may be a bit raised.
Most moles remain the same size, shape, and color over time.
If your mole doesn't fit these characteristics, you could have a dysplastic nevus (abnormal mole). An abnormal mole requires medical attention.
There are five signs to check for when evaluating moles. The ABCDE signs are:
Abnormal moles look different from ordinary round moles, often with two non-matching halves.
An abnormal mole often has irregular borders, for example, scalloped or jagged-looking edges.
While most moles have a single color throughout, an abnormal mole frequently features deposits of two or more different colors.
The total size of an abnormal mole is generally larger than other moles. In general, abnormal moles are about as large as a pencil eraser (or larger).
If your mole is evolving — growing larger, changing shape, protruding from the skin more than before, becoming painful, or changing in some other way — it’s probably an abnormal growth requiring evaluation.
Dr. Richey is a dysplastic nevi expert who can skillfully examine your mole in the office and then recommend the best course of treatment.
If you have abnormal moles, you have an increased risk of melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer). People with 10 or more abnormal moles have a twelve-fold increase in melanoma risk.
Most abnormal moles aren’t actually cancerous at the time of their discovery, but because they increase your risk of melanoma, it’s important to treat them promptly.
Dr. Richey may recommend monitoring if you have a common mole with no signs of abnormalities. For example, if you have had a mole since birth and it’s never changed or bothered you in any way, Dr. Richey may keep an eye on it during your skin exams but not recommend immediate removal.
If you have an abnormal mole, Dr. Richey likely performs a biopsy to look for precancerous and cancerous cells. Should those cells occur within the mole, Dr. Richey can perform dermatologic surgery in the office to remove your mole.
Moles are usually noncancerous, but they do warrant watching. If you need to evaluate a mole, call the Hobart K. Richey, MD, PA, office or click on the online booking link now.