Your skin changes significantly as you age, with wrinkles and discolored age spots appearing out of thin air. Moles are yet another skin blemish that can pop up all over the body and are usually harmless.
However, some moles may appear different, causing you to second guess if they're a mole or something more problematic. The good news is a dermatologist can help you determine if you're at risk for cancer or other complications.
At the Dermatology Center of Worcester, our team cares about the health of your skin, even when it comes to bothersome moles. Dr. Camille I. Roberts is our board-certified dermatologist who offers skin evaluations and mole removal for her patients.
Melanin is present in the skin and is responsible for giving your skin its color. The cells that produce melanin are known as melanocytes, and when they all clump together, they form skin lesions called moles.
Many people have at least one mole on their body, with the average person having anywhere from ten to forty moles that show up during childhood. Moles can be flat or raised, brown or skin-colored, and vary in size.
Most moles are harmless groups of melanocytes that don't pose any risk to your health. However, in some cases, a different mole that pops up in older age or one that seems to change in shape or size can indicate a problem with your health.
Not every mole poses a risk to your health. Most are benign and don't increase your risk for cancer. However, if you notice a mole that looks different than your other moles or those that pop up on your skin after age 30, it doesn't hurt to have us check them out.
When looking at the moles on your body, follow a few guidelines to determine if they pose a risk to your health. The best way to determine dangerous moles is to follow the ABCDE acronym while examining the mole, which means:
Asymmetrical moles can spell danger, especially when one part of the mole doesn't match the other. A mole that's not perfectly round or has rough edges could threaten your health.
Usually, the border around a mole is smooth and symmetrical. If the border around the mole seems jagged or irregular, let us check out the mole.
Most moles are a brown color, and it remains consistent throughout the entire mole. However, if the color changes throughout the mole or there are varying colors of black, brown, red, or purple, it could be a sign of danger.
An excellent way to evaluate the proper size of a mole is to compare it to a pencil eraser. If the mole size is more significant than an eraser on your pencil, we should evaluate it to determine if it's a problem.
Some moles rise off the skin, while others are flat, which is normal. However, if your mole becomes raised after it is flat or vice versa, it's sometimes a cause for concern.
Most moles aren't dangerous and are simply small brown spots on your skin. Even if you have a lot of moles, it doesn't mean your health is at risk.
However, some moles do pose a risk to your health, which is why regular visits to the dermatologist are essential. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer that can pop up disguised as an irregular mole.
Other, less dangerous forms of skin cancer include squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma. We can quickly treat these forms of skin cancer through a skin biopsy and mole removal.
However, mole removal can leave a scar, so Dr. Roberts carefully evaluates each area on your skin to determine what we need to remove and what can stay.
If you're concerned about a mole, having Dr. Roberts evaluate it immediately is essential. She visually examines all the moles on your body to determine if any of them appear suspicious.
Dr. Roberts may choose to biopsy a worrisome mole if she thinks it may be problematic. If the biopsy comes back standard, we don't need further interventions unless the mole is bothering you physically.
However, if the mole biopsy comes back abnormal, Dr. Roberts may want to remove it, especially if it's skin cancer. She removes the mole and schedules follow-up appointments to ensure she gets all the abnormal tissue.
There are various options for mole removal that Dr. Roberts discusses with you based on the location of the mole, its size, and your comfort level.
If you're worried about a mole and want to discuss your treatment options, call the office in Worcester today at 508-452-2702 or request a consultation on the website.