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Posts for tag: Moles

By Oahu Dermatology
September 13, 2022
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Mole   Moles  

Most moles are normal, but sun exposure, genetics, and other factors can work to turn a normal mole into an abnormal, even cancerous mole. It’s important to know what to look for in abnormal moles. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole can even protect you from skin cancer.

Moles are caused by skin cells known as melanocytes. These melanocytes are responsible for determining skin color. Melanocytes can clump together, causing a mole to form.

So, when should you worry about a mole?

Abnormal Moles Typically Are:

  • Large, usually over 6 millimeters in diameter
  • Irregularly shaped, usually with ragged borders
  • Asymmetrical, usually not uniform in shape

In Addition, You Need to Watch Out for Moles That Are:

  • Itching, burning, or painful
  • Bleeding or oozing
  • Recurring after being previously removed

You should perform a self-check of your moles regularly, looking for any of the signs and symptoms listed above. In fact, pay attention to any mole that has changed in size, color, height, or shape.

You should also visit your dermatologist regularly, especially if you are at a high risk for skin cancer. People who are at a higher risk of skin cancer:

  • Burn easily
  • Have fair skin, light hair, and light eyes
  • Have a family history of skin cancer

When you visit your dermatologist, your doctor may want to biopsy the mole to check for abnormalities. This means taking a sample of tissue or removing the mole entirely. This can be done several ways, including:

Shaving the mole if the mole is small; this option doesn’t require sutures.

Removal of the mole with an instrument, if the mole is large; this option requires a few sutures.

MOHS micrographic surgery, which removes the mole one layer at a time, and the tissue is examined under a microscope.

Remember to protect yourself against skin damage and skin cancer by always wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 15, or 30 if you are out in the sun for an extended period. Use a higher SPF of 50 and above if you are at high risk for skin cancer.

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of an abnormal mole, and mole removal options, talk with your dermatologist. Call today.

By Oahu Dermatology
January 29, 2020
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Moles  

Do you have a mole? Chances are good that you have few of them, actually. The average person has around 30-40 moles, and while moles are usually nothing to worry about it is important to be able to spot any changes that could be warning signs of skin cancer. That’s why you should perform self-exams every month to check the state of your moles. Just because they could be harmless doesn’t mean you should ignore them.

A mole that develops after the age of 30, a mole that bleeds or a changing mole could be a sign of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. This is why it’s important to check your moles regularly. When found early, melanoma is highly treatable. When it comes to pinpointing melanoma your dermatologist may teach you about the ABCDE's of skin cancer:

Asymmetry: If you were to draw a line down the middle of a mole both sides would be completely symmetrical; however, an asymmetrical mole could be a sign of melanoma.

Border: Melanoma is more likely to produce growths that have jagged or poorly defined edges.

Color: Healthy moles are usually a single color, while melanoma will often contain different colors or dark spots.

Diameter: Most healthy moles are smaller than a pencil eraser. If you notice that one or more moles are getting bigger you should speak to your dermatologist.

Evolution: Moles stay relatively the same over time; therefore, if you notice any changes to the size, color, shape, or texture then it’s time to consult with a skincare professional.

Of course, melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer to be on the lookout for. The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas often present as waxy-looking pale bumps on the skin, often on the head or neck, while squamous cells feel like firm nodules that may be smooth at first but become scaly.

Even if you aren’t noticing changes in your moles it’s still a good idea to schedule a skin cancer screening with your dermatologist once a year. Those at an increased risk for skin cancer may want to discuss coming in more often for exams. This exam is non invasive and could just save your life. If you’ve never had a skin cancer screening before it’s high time that you scheduled one.