ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST A FEW MOLES, AND IN MOST CASES, THEY ARE NOT A CAUSE OF WORRY.
It is wise to be alert to changes in your moles and what to look for to identify melanoma in its early stages when the disease is more likely to be successfully treated. Most of the time, moles are not dangerous. Whether you have a mole that you’d like to get removed for aesthetic reasons, or you see changes in shape, color, any bleeding or inflammation, the professionals at Advanced Skin Care have offices in Fullerton and Newport Beach to assist you.
Types of Moles
There are a few different types of moles, and understanding the type of mole you have will help you better manage any changes in its appearance and seek appropriate treatment. The types of moles are:
- Atypical Moles: A mole is considered atypical when it has an irregular shape, is larger than a pencil eraser or has more than one color (brown, tan, red, or pink). Atypical moles can grow almost anywhere on the body and can develop into melanoma, so they should be carefully monitored. If you have 50 or more atypical moles, you may have a medical condition called familial atypical multiple mole-melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome. People with this syndrome are more likely to develop melanoma.
- Spitz Nevus: This type of mole often looks identical to melanoma, and even a dermatologist cannot tell just by looking at it whether it is cancerous or benign. They are often raised or domed and have a pink or red color, but can also be red, black, or brown. Sometimes this type of mole will bleed or leak other fluids. As these moles can closely resemble cases of melanoma, you should get all moles similar to this analyzed by a dermatologist.
- Congenital Mole: When you are born with a mole, it is called a congenital mole. They can range in size, and they may stay the same or increase in size as you grow. This type should be monitored closely because they can increase your chance of developing melanoma.
- Acquired Mole: Also known as common moles, acquired moles develop after you are born. Most people have a few of these moles. However, if you have 50 or more, you may be at higher risk of developing melanoma.
Any type of mole can develop into melanoma, but visiting our clinic and understanding your risks can help you diagnose and treat melanoma before it becomes a danger to your health and longevity.
WHEN TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT A MOLE
While most moles tend to be unchanged throughout your life, some begin to alter as you age. It’s important to know what to look out for so that you can seek treatment right away. A few signs of melanoma may include: asymmetry, irregular border (not round), multiple colors, diameter larger than 6mm, or changes over time. If your mole changes in size, shape, or color, that is considered an “evolving” mole. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to seek evaluation and treatment from a dermatologist.
You may want to seek treatment for a mole if you suspect it is melanoma, but sometimes you may also want to eliminate a mole that is unattractive, distracting, or annoying. There are generally two types of removal methods for moles. One is called a surgical shave, where a blade is used to remove the mole, but doesn’t go deep under the surface of the skin. The other type of treatment is called surgical excision, where your entire mole is removed, including tissue underneath the skin. For larger moles, you may need stitches to close the incision. Under both treatment methods, the tissue that is removed will be analyzed under a microscope to check for any cancerous cells.
Mole removal is an outpatient procedure, so you will be able to resume your daily activities shortly after leaving the clinic. You may experience some slight pain or discomfort depending on the size and depth of the mole that was removed. Our doctor will also advise you about aftercare where necessary, and provide you with important skincare tips. We recommend wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and regularly examining existing moles to monitor any changes in their color, shape, or size. If you become suspicious of any evolving moles, see our dermatologist to have them examined.
TREATMENT FOR MOLES
The friendly and experienced staff at Advanced Skin Care, Dermatology, and Plastic Surgery are highly-respected in the industry for their attention to detail and successful treatments for skin irregularities. We focus on utilizing advanced technology to offer effective treatment with natural results while keeping your comfort and safety as top priorities. Moles are often unattractive and can develop cancerous cells that can lead to further health problems. If you have moles that are suspicious in nature or you feel distracted from your appearance, schedule a consultation at our clinic to seek treatment.