Did you know that nearly every adult has a few moles? Moles are extremely common and usually harmless skin growths that can appear anywhere on the body. However, some moles can turn into skin cancer over time. If you have noticed a mole that is changing in shape, size, or color or begins to itch or bleed, be sure to schedule a visit at our office for a professional assessment.
What are Moles?
Moles are very common skin growths that often look like small, pink or brown spots. They are caused by clusters of pigmented cells in the skin and can be found almost anywhere on the body. While most moles are harmless, they can become cancerous in rare circumstances.
A typical mole may exhibit the following characteristics:
- Appear as brown, tan, black, red, blue, or pink.
- May be smooth, flat, raised, or pebbly.
- Oval or round in shape with even borders.
- Less than ¼ inches in diameter.
Identifying Suspicious-Looking Moles
To assist you in identifying moles that look suspicious or abnormal, follow the ABCDEs of melanoma. Be sure to visit our office as soon as possible if you detect any of the following signs:
Asymmetry: One half of the mole looks different than the other half.
Border: Keep an eye out for moles with irregular or scalloped borders.
Color: Look for moles that have changed color over time or contain multiple different colors including black.
Diameter: Moles that have grown more than ¼ inch should be assessed.
Evolution: Look for moles that change in size, color, or shape over time. Moles that evolve may also develop itchiness or bleeding.
Mole Treatment Options
Typical, healthy moles do not require treatment. However, if you are bothered by the look or feel of a typical mole, it can be removed with surgical shave or excision. If you have a suspicious-looking mole or a mole that is cancerous, it will need to be surgically removed. Surgical removal methods may include the following:
Surgical Excision: Local anesthetic will first be administered to the treatment area to ensure your comfort. Dr. Gray will then skillfully remove the mole, as well as some of the surrounding skin. Stitches will be required to close the wound, after which a scar will remain.
Shave Excision: During this technique, a local anesthetic is administered, and then a scalpel is used to carefully shave horizontal slices of the mole off.
It is important to note that you should never try to remove a mole on your own at home. This could result in damage to your skin or surrounding tissues, infection, or scarring.