Overview Of Procedure
Most people have a number of small colored spots on their bodies – moles, freckles, and birthmarks. The average young adult has at least 10 brown moles. A few of these spots are present at birth, while most others develop throughout life. Almost all moles are normal and remain so. However, a change in a mole or other spot on the skin may be the first sign of an early malignant melanoma or other form of skin cancer.
Dermatology Consultants of Dallas will help you determine what is the best course of treatment for your moles. Some moles are quickly and easily removed for cosmetic reasons, others for health reasons. It is wise to keep an eye out for any changes in the appearance of a mole, as this may indicate possible skin cancer, or melanoma.
If you have moles that are of concern to you, or you simply want to have a mole removed, read more in our FAQ section, then schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to help you determine a course of treatment.
Moles FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is malignant melanoma?
Malignant melanoma is a serious skin cancer that arises in moles or in the tanning cells of the skin. In its early stages, when it can be easily treated, the disease is not life threatening. In later stages, malignant melanoma spreads or “metastasizes” to other parts of the body. At this point, treatment is not always successful. People at high risk of developing the disease are those who have:
- a family history of melanoma, or who have had a melanoma in the past.
- unusual moles on the skin, or changing moles.
- fair skin, light hair and eye color, and who sunburn easily or tan with difficulty.
- a record of painful or blistering sunburns as children or teenagers.
- outdoor occupations and recreational habits.
How do I tell the difference between a normal mole and melanoma?
Regular self-examination is the best way to become familiar with the many moles and spots on the skin. With the help of a family member or friend, you should examine your skin, including hard-to-see areas (mouth, back, scalp, buttocks, etc.) Common moles and malignant melanomas do not look alike. You should inspect your moles and pay special attention to their sizes, shapes, edges and color. A handy way to remember these features is to think A-B-C and D – for Asymmetry, Border, Color and Diameter. Any one of these warning signs or other changes in the skin – itchiness, redness, swelling, softening, hardening – should prompt a visit to your physician. Remember the ABCD’s of self-examination. With malignant melanoma, early detection and treatment make the difference.
Some forms of early malignant melanoma are asymmetrical, meaning, a line drawn through the middle will not create matching halves. Common moles are round and symmetrical.
The borders of early melanomas are frequently uneven, often containing scalloped or notched edges. Common moles have smooth, even borders.
Different shades of brown or black are often the first sign of a malignant melanoma. Common moles usually have a single shade of brown.
Common moles are usually less than 6 mm in diameter (1/4″), the size of a pencil eraser. Early melanomas tend to be larger than 6 mm.