Moles are brown or black growths that are usually round or oval in shape and can appear anywhere on the skin. They can be rough or smooth, flat or raised, and appear singularly or in multiples. They occur when cells that are responsible for skin pigmentation, known as melanocytes, grow in clusters instead of being spread out across the skin. Generally, moles are less than one-quarter inch in size. Most appear by the age of 20, although some may appear later in life. Because they last about 50 years, these dark spots may disappear by themselves over time.
Are Moles Dangerous?
Most of these spots are harmless, but a change in size, shape, color or texture could be indicative of a cancerous growth. For this reason, even if you are not dissatisfied with the appearance of your mole, you should still schedule a consultation with Dr. Brezel to make sure you do not require mole removal or other mole treatment for health reasons.
What Are the DIfferent Types of Moles?
There are a number of different types of moles, also called nevi. Some of these are potentially cancerous, so you should learn to recognize them. These include:
- Congenital Nevi – These dark spots are present at birth. The larger their size, the greater the risk of developing into skin cancer.
- Atypical Dysplastic Nevi – Irregularly shaped growths that are larger than average. They often appear to have dark brown centers with light, uneven borders.
In some cases, abnormal moles may become painful, itchy, scaly or may begin to bleed. It’s important to keep an eye on your pigmented areas so that you can catch any changes early. We recommend doing a visual check of your body monthly, including all areas that don’t have sun exposure (such as the scalp, armpits or bottoms of feet).
Is My Mole Cancerous?
We advise using the American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDEs as a guide for assessing whether or not a mole may be becoming cancerous:
- Asymmetry: Half the mole does not match the other half in size, shape or color.
- Border: The edges of moles are irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined.
- Color: The mole is not the same color throughout.
- Diameter: The mole is usually greater than 6 millimeters when diagnosed, but may also be smaller.
- Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that is different from the rest, or changes in size, shape, or color.
If any of these signs seem familiar, please make an appointment to see us right away. Dr. Brezel may do a biopsy of the mole to determine whether it is or isn’t cancerous and/or may surgically treat it.
Mole Treatment in Queens with Glendale Dermatology
Moles need to be taken seriously. If you have one, you need an expert like board-certified dermatologist, Ted Brezel, MD treating you. He can accurately diagnose your mole and inform you of the best next steps. To schedule your skin consultation, simply submit the form below today.