Moles, or Nevi, occur when melanocytes (the pigment producing cells) in the skin grow in clumps and are distributed throughout your skin. Although moles are oftentimes harmless, some moles may have the potential to be cancerous.
Dysplastic nevi is the technical term for atypical moles. Melanoma is the main complication of atypical moles, with some people having a higher risk of developing melanoma from their moles.
Individuals born with moles larger than 2 inches; unusual moles, like those irregular in shape; more than 50 moles; and those with a personal family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of developing melanoma.
getting your moles checked
Melanoma can be a devastating and dangerous skin cancer as it can rapidly spread if not detected early. Regular skin checks by your dermatologist can prevent the delay of diagnosis. You can perform a monthly self-evaluation, using the ABCDEs of melanoma. A is for asymmetry, does your mole look the same on both sides, B is for border, is the border of the mole jagged and uneven? C is for color, are there multiple colors within one lesion? D is for diameter, any mole over 6 mm or the size of a pencil eraser should be checked, and E is evolving or changing lesions.
If you’re concerned about any changes to your skin, it’s important to seek medical advice from a trained healthcare provider, who will perform a professional skin check.
UV radiation increases your risk of developing melanoma; therefore, it is important to wear sunscreen, especially if you plan to go outside. Cover up with sunglasses, hats and sun-protective shirts and pants. Of course, we recommend never using a tanning bed as this increases your risk of melanoma by 75-85%.
If you’re concerned about your mole, schedule an appointment with Dermatology of Athens. We’ll perform a professional skin check and offer a game plan for the removal of any concerning lesions.
Mole Checks and Skin Exams
Unfortunately, as we age, our skin becomes more susceptible to skin cancer; this is especially true for individuals who use tanning beds and don’t use adequate sunscreen while outdoors. Atypical moles, known as dysplastic nevi, can become precancerous over time and will need to be removed. Additionally, melanoma and and non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, can spread and become life-threatening if not treated early.
The doctors and PA at Dermatology of Athens are trained on identifying these skin cancers, either through a physical scan or by taking a biopsy, and, once confirmed that it’s cancer, are prepared to remove it — so you live life safely in your own skin.
The best prevention for skin cancer is by protecting it from too much sun, checking your skin monthly for changes, and regular skin checks by your Dermatologist. If you’re concerned or have questions, we encourage you to schedule a full skin examination today.
Dermatology of Athens
If you suspect you’re at risk of developing skin cancer, we can help. We can examine your skin, looking for warning signs and taking a sample (if necessary). If we suspect your condition is cancerous, we can begin discussing your treatment options. It’s important to visit a dermatologist regularly as he or she can monitor your skin for any changes and minimize any risks to your health early. Remember, skin cancer is treatable when diagnosed early!