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I Think I Have a Suspicious Mole. What Are My Next Steps?

I Think I Have a Suspicious Mole. What Are My Next Steps?

Moles and growths resembling moles give rise to melanoma. Melanoma is the fourth most common type of cancer in women and men and a potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer

The good news is that suspicious-looking moles are early signs alerting you to the risk and giving you time to seek treatment.

The Allure Dermatology Franklin Square team excels in identifying the earliest signs of skin cancer. They remove the lesion, eliminate cancer whenever possible, and teach you how to protect your skin from future health challenges.

How to identify suspicious moles

Any change in a mole’s appearance makes it suspicious for skin cancer. The growth of a new mole or skin lesion is also a red flag for possible problems.

Look for these characteristic signs of a healthy, normal mole:

Symmetry

Both sides of a mole should look the same and be equally proportioned. The mole could be flat or raised, light or dark brown, and may or may not have hair, but its appearance should be consistent. Your mole is suspicious when one side looks different from the other.

One color

A multicolored mole is highly suspicious of cancer. You may notice more than one shade of brown or different colors, ranging from tan and black to pink, red, and blue.

Smooth, even borders

Each mole should have a smooth, round, even border. An irregular edge is a suspicious sign.

Small size

Most people have numerous moles, and they can vary in size. However, they should all be smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser. A small mole can become cancerous, but problems are more likely to appear in large moles.

Look healthy

You may not think a mole ever looks “healthy,” especially if it’s on your face. A healthy mole should not be itchy, bleed, develop a crust, or become a nonhealing sore. These changes are all warning signs for skin cancer.

The difference between existing and new moles

Most moles appear in the first 20 years of life. Though you can grow another mole at any age, a new one in adulthood is uncommon, suspicious, and has a higher chance of cancer than an existing mole.

Discolored skin lesions like age spots and seborrheic keratosis (a brown, tan, or black spot that may resemble a wart) don’t cause cancer. However, they may be worrisome because they resemble signs of skin cancer.

What to do if you have a suspicious mole

Whether you’re worried, unsure, have questions about a mole or lesion, or believe you have a suspicious mole, your first step is to schedule a checkup with a dermatologist.

Seeing a dermatologist is essential because they have the specialized training and experience needed to detect slight changes that are easily overlooked.

Why schedule a prompt appointment? Getting a timely skin assessment can mean the difference between life and death.

That sounds dramatic, but the fact is that melanoma arises from moles and growths resembling moles, and it’s the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Like all skin cancers, we can cure melanoma when we treat it at an early stage. Without treatment, melanoma can spread throughout your body, causing metastatic cancer in other organs, including your lungs, liver, bones, and brain.

Sadly, the five-year survival rate falls to 74% if cancer reaches the nearby lymph nodes before treatment and dramatically drops to 35% if it metastasizes.  

That’s why it’s so crucial for you to take the first step and seek immediate skin cancer screening.

Subsequent steps for worrisome moles

After we examine all the visible moles and lesions on your skin, the next step is removing any that are suspicious.

We cut out the mole or lesion along with a small amount of the surrounding skin and send it to a lab. Trained lab techs evaluate the tissue to determine if cancer cells were present and, if so, whether or not they were all removed.

If you have skin cancer and it was all removed, you don’t need additional treatment. Should you still have remnants of cancer, we discuss the next step. Depending on your lab results, we may remove more of the surrounding skin or refer you to an oncologist.

Don’t put off scheduling a skin cancer evaluation if you have a worrisome mole or lesion. Call Allure Dermatology Franklin Square or use online booking to request an appointment.

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