Do you have one or many irregular moles that have been causing you concern? The Dermatology Clinic can diagnose and treat dysplastic nevi, as well as determine if there is a risk of developing cancer.
Dysplastic nevi, the medical name for atypical moles, are noncancerous moles that are usually flat in appearance. However, some parts of the mole, frequently the center, may be raised above the surface of the skin.
These benign spots are typically hereditary and are more common in Caucasian families. In fact, two to eight percent of Caucasians have dysplastic nevi. Along with genetics, sun exposure can play a part in the development of these moles.
In order to come up with a proper diagnosis, our physicians will typically use a magnifying device called a dermoscope to examine areas of the skin that cannot be seen with the naked eye. In some cases, we may even remove the mole for closer observation.
While examining the mole, we’ll look for a variety of characteristics related to shape, borders, colors, size, and if the surface is raised. Unlike regular moles, atypical moles are asymmetrical. They are also typically larger than a pencil eraser and feature a raised central portion. The borders are often not well-defined and may even fade into the surrounding areas of the skin. While common moles tend to be flesh-colored, tan, or brown, dysplastic nevi may appear in a wide range of colors, including dark brown, pink, red, or black.
Although atypical moles are often benign, there is a chance that they can become cancerous. If we determine that there is a cause for concern, we will perform a biopsy to remove some or all of the mole.
There are several things you can do to help decrease the chances of your atypical moles becoming cancerous. This includes using daily sun protection, performing monthly skin self-examinations, scheduling regular skin exams with your physician, and seeking immediate medical attention whenever you notice any suspicious changes.
Melanoma is a potentially dangerous skin cancer that can spread to other areas of the body, including the bones, lungs, liver, and brain. People with atypical moles have a higher chance of developing this disease than the rest of the general population. In fact, the higher the number of moles a person has, the greater the risk. Those with a family history of melanoma also have an increased chance of developing cancer. We look for several warning signs to help us determine if your atypical mole may actually be melanoma, such as swelling, itching, pain, bleeding, crusting, and oozing.
If you have atypical moles, visit The Dermatology Clinic to seek treatment and to possibly decrease the risk or spread of melanoma. Schedule an appointment through our contact form or give us a call today at (225) 769-7546.