Mole Removal and Diagnosis
Moles can affect anyone at any time of life. They can be large, small, different colors, and appear on any part of the body.
Mole Removal and Diagnosis
Moles can affect anyone at any time of life. They can be large, small, different colors, and appear on any part of the body. In the majority of cases, moles are harmless and can be left alone. However, some moles can become cancerous, making it important to note any changes in shape, size, or color, or if they begin to itch, hurt, or bleed. In this situation, the mole should be assessed by a dermatologist.
The following looks at when a mole might need professional care, how a cancerous or precancerous one is diagnosed, and how they’re removed.
Mole 101: concern, assessment, diagnosis, and removal
- When should I be concerned about a mole?
- Who should assess my mole and what will they do?
- Diagnosing problem moles
- Mole removal
When should I be concerned about a mole?
Most of us have a mole or two (or many!). They naturally evolve a little over the years as our skin changes. However, if you notice any of the following, then this would warrant a visit to a dermatologist for a checkup.
- One that grows larger than the diameter of a pencil
- Bleeding, itching, or irritation
- Dramatic color changes
Who should assess my mole and what will they do?
While you can get a mole checked by your family physician, the best person for the job is a dermatologist. These healthcare professionals will examine the mole and can make a more accurate first diagnosis, as it’s part of their specialty.
A dermatologist follows the ABCDE of mole examination, where:
- A stands for asymmetry: Healthy moles are generally uniform in shape
- B stands for border: Healthy moles have smooth, well-defined borders
- C stands for color: Healthy moles are normally a single color
- D stands for diameter: Most (but not all) healthy moles are usually less tan 6 mm in diameter (approx. the size of a pencil)
- E stands for evolving: Healthy moles don’t change dramatically over time
Anything outside of these normal parameters can (but not always) be a red flag that needs further investigation.
Diagnosing problem moles
Diagnosis might be made solely by examining the mole. The dermatologist will use a magnifying instrument to get a better look and may well be able to sign you off with a clean bill of health.
Moles that are more suspect might need a biopsy. This is a painless procedure where a few cells are removed and then examined in a lab. This gives a definitive diagnosis as to whether a mole is cancerous or precancerous.
In this situation, mole removal will be carried out.
Caught in the early stages, the removal of a mole is a minor procedure. It can often be done under local anesthetic with minimal recovery time. In later stages, and if cancerous cells are discovered around the mole and deeper into the skin, the procedure will be more invasive. This is likely to be carried out under general anesthetic (you’ll be put to sleep) and has a longer recovery process. Depending where on the body this is and the extent of tissue removal, cosmetic surgery might be needed to rebuild the area.
Think You might need a Mole Removal? Contact Bayou City Dermatology Today
The key to skin cancer is early diagnosis and treatment. Prompt attention is essential, and the success rate is high, as long as any problem lesions are identified and removed quickly.
If you’re concerned about a mole or any mark on your body, then it’s vital to book a consultation with a dermatologist as soon as possible. At Bayou City, we specialize in the identification and treatment of cancerous and precancerous moles and lesions. We also carry out annual skin assessments, meaning you can rest assured that you don’t have any underlying problem areas that might advance without your knowledge.
Visit https://www.bayoucitydermatology.com/services to discover our full range of services and call or book your appointment online today.