What are Moles?

Moles, or nevi, are clusters of pigmented cells that typically appear as dark brown spots and can develop anywhere on the body. Moles are caused by irregular melanocyte cell growth in the skin. Often overlooked because of their commonality, they are usually the first indicators of skin cancer or malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Appearing and disappearing throughout a person’s life, they have the ability to constantly morph and can vary in size, shape and color. For example, during times of adolescence and pregnancy, hormones can change the appearance of moles. Congenital nevi, or moles appearing at birth, are less common and have a higher risk of melanoma than other forms. Further, if you are over 30 and begin to notice new moles, or have moles that are itching, bleeding or changing shape you should consult a specialist at the Soderstrom Skin Institute immediately.

What are the Treatment options?

The Soderstrom Skin Institute offers free skin cancer screening clinics that are an invaluable resource for individuals who have atypical spots or changing moles. In years past, more than 25,000 patients have been examined and each clinic is devoted solely to the patients.

After your skin examination a sample of the mole, or biopsy, will be taken if there are moles that are suspected skin cancers. The best treatment for malignant melanoma is complete surgical removal.*

What else should I know?

Self-examination and awareness is a crucial first step in detection and prevention. Keep track of any changing areas of skin and moles. Wearing sun block, staying out of the sun, covering up with clothes and proper nutrition also play an important role in individual health.

Remember the A through E identifiers during self examination:

A is for Asymmetry.  Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves.

B is border. Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders the characteristics of melanomas.

C is color. Look for growths that have many colors or an uneven distribution of color.

D is for diameter. Look for growths that are larger than about 1/4 inch (6 millimeters).

E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as a mole that grows in size or that changes color or shape. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, such as new itchiness or bleeding.

To schedule an appointment with a board certified dermatologist at Soderstrom Skin Institute, call 1-888-970-7546.

*results may vary