Moles, known medically as nevi, are clusters of pigmented cells that often appear as small, dark brown spots or raised lesions. However, moles can come in a range of colors and can develop virtually anywhere on your body. Most moles are harmless, but in some cases, moles may become cancerous. Monitoring moles and other pigmented patches is an important step in detecting skin cancer, especially malignant melanoma. Not all melanomas develop from pre-existing moles, but many begin in or near a mole or other dark spot on the skin.
Any new or changing mole should be evaluated to make sure that it is not cancerous. If you have numerous moles – 20 or more – you are at increased risk for atypical moles. If you have a family history of melanoma or atypical moles, then you are also at increased risk for developing atypical moles and melanoma.
Examine your skin carefully on a regular basis – ideally once a month, especially if you have a family history of melanoma – to detect early skin changes that may signal melanoma.
If your mole is new or changing, see your dermatologist for an evaluation. If they are concerned about the lesion, then a small biopsy may be performed in the office.
Mole removal usually isn’t necessary. For cosmetic reasons, a mole can be removed in several ways:
These procedures are usually performed in the office of your doctor or dermatologist and take only a short time.
Spectrum Dermatology provides expertise, knowledge and passion to medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Our experience and reputation make Spectrum Dermatology one of the most sought-after dermatologist in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. For more information or to set up an appointment please contact us at (480) 948-8400.