How are Atypical Moles Evaluated by a Dermatologist?
Dermatologists often use the “ABCDE’s of Melanoma” as a guideline to monitor moles and detect skin cancers:
- Asymmetry: The shape of the mole is irregular.
- Borders: The margins around the mole are uneven.
- Color: The mole has color variation and is not one shade.
- Diameter: The mole is usually larger than a pencil eraser.
- Evolving: There are changes in the mole’s shape, size or there are symptomatic changes such as itching or bleeding.
What Does the Dermatologist Do If an Atypical Mole is Found?
If your dermatologist thinks that a mole is atypical or a skin cancer, he may remove a sample and send it to the lab to be tested. This is called a biopsy and will determine if you have skin cancer and what type.
What are the Three Major Types of Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells, usually, but not always, on skin exposed to the sun. The three major types of skin cancer that your dermatologist will look for are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
How Are Atypical Moles Removed?
Atypical moles can often be removed by your dermatologist by either a shave excision or surgical excision with sutures. Smaller lesions are often shaved with a thin sterile blade, while larger lesions may be excised and sutured. Your dermatologist can discuss the best treatment option for you.
What if More Treatment is Needed After Removal?
If skin cancer is diagnosed, then possible treatment methods include radiation therapy, topical chemotherapy, and/or photodynamic therapy.