Also known as “nevi,” moles are groups of darkened (pigmented) cells that can appear on various areas of the body. Moles come in many sizes and can be smooth, raised, or wrinkled. The average person has about 100 of these spots on their body! (Holy moley!)
Unfortunately, a lot of these “beauty marks” aren’t very appealing, and some can even pose a health risk. Although most moles are initially benign, they can potentially become cancerous. Therefore, it is important to perform a self-exam once a month and have a full body skin exam every two to three years (or yearly if you have a family or personal history of skin cancer). These exams check for suspicious moles to help identify potential skin cancers so they can be addressed as soon as possible.
Be on the lookout for the following (ABCDE) mole characteristics that may be warning signs of skin cancer:
- A: Asymmetry
- B: Borders that are uneven or notched
- C: Color variations (more than one color, or red, white, or blue)
- D: Diameter larger than a pencil tip eraser (¼ inch or 6mm)
- E: Evolving in any way (size, shape, color, elevation, itching, bleeding, etc.)
Some celebrities have had their famous moles removed to ensure their safety. Ewan McGregor had several moles removed, and one of them proved to be cancerous. Enrique Iglesias had his trademark mole removed after his doctor told him it could become cancerous. Although Iglesias was nervous about having his mole removed, the quick procedure was done in five minutes.
A Simple Removal Process
We commonly perform mole removal procedures in our medical office. Mole removal is a very safe, simple, and painless process when performed by a professional. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic, and the mole is removed flush with the skin. If necessary, an excision technique and sutures may be used. We then have the mole examined to determine whether or not it is cancerous.
If you’re concerned about a mole for cosmetic reasons or suspicious characteristics, call us at (909) 981-8929 or fill out our online contact form for more information. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee looks forward to helping you achieve peace of mind and a more attractive appearance.