Freckles, sun spots, fairy kisses… it doesn’t matter what you call them; most everyone has moles. When melanocytes grow in clusters on the skin, a mole develops, and sun exposure and hormones can cause them to take on the traditional dark color we associate with moles. Congenital nevi are moles present at birth, while dysplastic nevi are moles that occur after birth. Unfortunately, moles have the potential to be more dangerous than you think; both types of moles can turn into skin cancer over time. So, how do you know when it’s time to see your doctor?
Know Your ABCDEs
You should monitor any suspicious mole once a month and contact your health care professional if you believe any of your moles are abnormal. A simple ABCDE rule will help you evaluate your moles for possible skin cancer. The following may be a cause for concern:
- Asymmetry – one half of your mole doesn’t match the other
- Borders – your mole has an irregular border rather than smooth, round edges
- Color – your mole is a color other than brown or has inconsistent coloring such as various shades of brown
- Diameter – your mole has a large diameter or approximately 6 mm or more
- Evolving – your mole changes in size, shape, or color at any time
Avoid Developing Skin Cancer
While you can develop skin cancer without being born with moles, congenital nevi can develop into cancer. The key for any skin type is to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. UVA and UVB rays can mutate your natural skin cells, causing uncontrollable cellular growth (cancer). Don’t stay in the sun for long periods of time. Always wear a broad-spectrum UV sunscreen, and apply it regularly when exposed to the sun for more than a few hours.
See a Physician
If you believe that you have a questionable mole, schedule a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist at Skin Physicians & Surgeons. We provide in-office screenings of possible skin cancers. We diagnose and treat all of our patients. Removing cancerous moles before they spread is the best way to keep you healthy.
Remove Unsightly Moles
Even if your mole isn’t cancerous, you can still have it removed to ensure beautiful, flawless skin. Mole removal is a simple procedure performed in our medical office. We exam all removed moles to ensure they aren’t cancerous. Great care is taken to minimize scar development to maintain the beauty of your complexion.
To schedule your dermatology appointment with a doctor at Skin Physicians & Surgeons, call us at 909-981-8929 or contact us online.