Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Dermatology located in Latham, NY
Almost every adult has a mole or two on their body. New moles, or changes in the shape or color of your mole, may be early signs of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. If you have concerns about your moles, expert dermatologist, Christine Yang-Finnin, MD, at Latham Dermatology in Latham, New York, can examine your skin and provide the appropriate treatment recommendations. Call today, or book an appointment online.
Moles Q & A
What are moles?
Moles are brown or black growths that appear anywhere on your body.
There are several types of moles:
Congenital nevi are moles that you develop as a child. These moles grow with you and may darken or lighten as you get older.
Atypical dysplastic nevi
Atypical dysplastic nevi are moles that have varying shapes and colors. Though these moles aren’t necessarily cancerous, if you have many of these types of moles on your body, you’re at an increased risk of skin cancer.
A spitz nevi is a raised, pink mole that’s often mistaken for melanoma, and it can bleed. You may develop these types of moles in your 20s.
Any mole you develop after you’re born is called an acquired mole, or common mole. Light-skinned individuals may develop as many as 40 to 100 of these moles.
When should I be concerned about a mole?
If you have moles on your body, you should do a skin check regularly to monitor for changes and the development of new growths. Moles that have certain characteristics may indicate melanoma.
These characteristics, referred to as the ABCDEs, include:
- Asymmetry: the mole is uneven or not symmetrical
- Border: the border of the mole is irregular or not well-defined
- Color: the mole is more than one color
- Diameter: the mole is larger than a pencil eraser
- Evolving: the mole is changing shape over time
If you notice these changes to one of your moles or a new mole with one or more of these characteristics, call Latham Dermatology right away for a consultation. Catching and treating melanoma early improves your outcome.
How are moles treated?
Dr. Yang-Finnin may remove a mole because of concerns about cancer or simply because you don’t like how your mole looks or how it feels. She can usually remove your mole in one office visit by surgically excising or shaving it off.
The skin surrounding the mole should heal on its own. If the mole grows back after removal, call the office right away for a consultation as it may be a sign of melanoma.
If you have concerns about skin cancer, the best way to protect yourself is minimizing your exposure to the sun. Dr. Yang-Finnin recommends you use sunblock daily and cover up with clothing if you plan on being out in the sun for any great length of time.
For mole checks and removal, call Latham Dermatology, or schedule an appointment online.