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Does My Mole Need to Be Removed?

Does My Mole Need to Be Removed?

Moles, also called nevi, are plentiful in most women, men, and kids. In fact, the average adult has anywhere from 10-40 moles dispersed throughout their face and body. 

Moles are simply clusters of highly pigmented cells and are usually normal. Whether they’re flat or raised, a mole that doesn’t change usually isn’t a concern, unless you find it aesthetically displeasing.

You can choose to remove any mole that you don’t like. If you have any type of skin cancer, however, the abnormal mole must be removed immediately.

At Radiance Dermatology in Bethesda, Maryland, our expert dermatologist Dr. Omolara Olowoyeye urges you to keep a close eye on your moles. Below she outlines the changes you should look for when examining your moles. 

Dr. Olowoyeye specializes in all types of mole removal, whether it’s for aesthetic reasons or whether you have a skin cancer that must be removed through Mohs surgery or other means. When performed early enough, Mohs surgery may cure a potentially deadly melanoma.

Know your moles

Become aware of the different types of moles you currently have so that changes catch your attention. Be sure to fully examine your body every month to keep tabs on your moles. Use a phone or mirror to view out-of-the way areas, such as: 

You should also come to our office once a year for a full-body exam and skin cancer screening. 

Look for changes

When examining your skin and moles, stay alert to any kind of change in the shape, size, or color of old moles. Also pay attention if you have a new mole or a sore that won’t heal. Moles that suddenly appear after the age of 30 are potentially cancerous. 

Any changes in moles or the appearance of new moles should be investigated by a dermatologist. You should also be aware of the ABCDEs that may indicate the presence of a potentially lethal melanoma:

A - asymmetrical appearance

B - borders that look ragged or rough

C - more than one color in the mole

D - diameter that’s larger than a pencil eraser

E - moles that evolve or change in any way

Your moles may change slowly over time, such as growing larger or sprouting hairs as you age. However, any quick spurts of growth could indicate that the mole has become cancerous. Moles that bleed or itch should also be investigated as soon as possible.

Dark skin gets skin cancer, too

Although people with pale skin are at greater risk for sun-related skin cancers, dark skin doesn’t protect you from all skin cancers. In fact, people of color (POC) are more likely to have a worse prognosis from skin cancer than lighter-skinned people are.

The worse prognosis is due to the fact that skin cancer is usually diagnosed at later stages in POC. The delay in diagnosis arises because many POC and their doctors aren’t aware that skin cancer could be a problem in darker skins. 

Also, skin cancers in POC are often not related to sun exposure. They occur in more hidden, hard-to-detect areas, such as between the fingers or toes. In fact, the most common area for melanoma in POC is on the soles of the feet. 

Be sure you fully examine your body for new moles and lesions or changing moles, no matter how richly dark in melanin your skin is. Also be sure to book an annual skin-cancer screening so we can examine your skin for troublesome changes.

Mole removal is easy

If you do spot a troublesome mole — even if it’s a dangerous melanoma — we remove the mole in the office. Dr. Olowoyeye has expertise in a specialized type of mole removal called Mohs surgery that usually cures melanomas and other types of skin cancers. If your skin cancer has spread (metastasized), we refer you to an oncologist for further treatment.

If your moles continue to be normal, but you don’t like the appearance of some of them, we can remove those, too. Depending on how large the mole is, Dr. Olowoyeye removes it with:

If you have a mole that you’d like to remove, or you’d like to schedule a skin cancer screening, contact our friendly staff today. Feel free to call us at 301-430-4000 or book an appointment online. 

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