Almost everyone has a few moles, and if you have light skin, you may have many moles. Moles are groups of pigmented cells that are usually harmless. Some moles have been with you since birth, and others just show up at some point. Most moles are benign, but you should pay attention to changes and get your moles checked each year for skin cancer. Caught early, it is highly treatable. Caught later, it can be deadly.
If you have a mole that changes size, shape, or color, or you notice a new mole that’s recently popped up, you should get in touch with us. You should also reach out if you have a mole that itches, bleeds, or hurts. An asymmetrical mole (it wouldn’t match on both sides if you “folded” it in half), jagged borders, a very dark mole, a mole with color variation, or a mole that’s larger in diameter than a pencil eraser also calls for an examination.
If we suspect a mole of being cancerous or precancerous, we will excise it, or cut off a tiny piece and send it to a lab to be biopsied. If the mole is precancerous or melanoma in-situ (superficial skin cancer), you’ll return to the office, and we’ll cut out a larger, deeper margin surrounding the spot, to make sure we get all the dangerous cells. If there’s a risk that the cancer may have already spread, we may recommend a lymph node biopsy and refer you to a specialist.
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