Moles are common skin lesions that can occur anywhere on the body. Most people have them, but people with lighter skin tend to have more. They should be one color – often brown, but a mole can also be tan, black, red, pink, blue, skin-toned, or colorless – round in shape, and flat or slightly raised. Your moles may not all look alike; even on the same person, moles can differ in size, shape, and color. Some moles have hair, and some moles will change slowly over time, possibly even disappearing. Your moles should look the same from month to month, however. If you notice any changes in your moles, contact a dermatologist. Although moles are usually benign, growth, itching, or bleeding can be symptoms of skin cancer.
DermaHealth provides mole and skin lesion removal services, and if necessary, we will send in a tissue sample for pathology. Our treatments for removing moles include shaving, excising, or using Ellman® radiofrequency technology. Clients will receive a moist, wound-healing care sheet for post-care, which is important for optimal healing.
THE ABCDE RULE
At least once a month, conduct a self-examination of your moles. Keep an eye out for the ABCDEs of melanoma:
- Asymmetry: Moles should be symmetrical. A line drawn through the middle of a mole should produce matching halves.
- Border: Moles should not have an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
- Color: A mole should not vary in color – shades of tan, brown, or black with white, red, or blue coloration are cause for concern.
- Diameter: A mole should not be larger than six millimeters (1/4 inch) in diameter or exceed the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolution: Moles should not drastically change in size, shape, or shade of color.
One or more of these changes may be a sign that a mole is becoming cancerous. Common types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Melanomas are the most concerning form of skin cancer, but all need treatment.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It occurs most frequently on sun-exposed areas of the body. It rarely spreads to other organs, but it can cause destruction of the surrounding tissue.
Most basal cell carcinomas are the result of chronic sun exposure and are especially common in fair-skinned people with light hair and blue, green, or gray eyes. Basal cell carcinomas vary in appearance, but some warning signs include an open sore, a reddish patch, a growth with an elevated border and a central indentation, a bump or nodule, or an area that is scar-like in appearance.
SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA
Squamous cell carcinoma is a major type of cancer that arises from the outer epidermal layer of the skin and mucous membranes, occurring most commonly on areas exposed to the sun. If left untreated, it may penetrate and destroy underlying tissue. Squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other organs and be fatal.
Chronic sun exposure is the leading cause of this type of skin cancer. Signs that may indicate the presence of squamous cell carcinoma include scaly red patches, elevated growth with a central depression, wart-like growths, nodules, and open sores that may develop a crusted surface or bleed.
Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that begins in melanocytes, the cells that produce skin color (melanin). Lesions may appear as a dark brown, black, or multicolored growths with irregular borders that can become crusted and bleed.
Melanoma may affect anyone at any age and form anywhere on the body. People who have fair skin, light hair and eye color, or a family history of melanoma, as well as those who have had past occurrences of melanoma, are at increased risk. These tumors can arise in or near a mole and appear without warning. Melanoma may spread to other organs, making it essential to treat early.
For more information on our mole and skin lesion removal services, schedule a free consultation with us today.