Moles or “nevi” are composed of groups of pigment producing cells called melanocytes. They are important to monitor because of their potential risk for turning into malignant melanoma. People with more moles have an increased risk of melanoma. Most Caucasian adults have about 20 nevi. Dysplastic moles, which are clinically and microscopically atypical appearing, are putative precursor lesions of melanoma. Dysplastic moles occur in 30% of patients with primary melanoma and in 6% of their family members. People with a family history of dysplastic nevi or have numerous atypical appearing moles themselves should be carefully monitored for melanoma. It is important to watch for the warning signs of melanoma and the ABCDE’s of melanoma.
Moles may be removed because they are clinically worrisome or simply for cosmetic purposes. No matter what the reason, our providers at PD&CC are happy to examine your moles and also to discuss mole removal options.
To be safe, moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined by one of our providers immediately:
- Larger than six millimeters
- Itches or bleeds
- Rapidly changes in color, size or shape
- Has multiple colors
- Is located where it can't be easily monitored, such as on the scalp
Depending on their depth, location and color, as well as the patient's skin type, age and other factors, treatment for benign but unattractive birthmarks may take the form of laser, pulsed light therapy, cryosurgery or surgical excision.
» Click here to view before/after photos of this procedure in the Photo Gallery.