When Should a Mole be Evaluated?
You should call your dermatologist for evaluation of a mole or skin lesion if you notice any of the following:
- An “ugly duckling”: a mole that is very different from all of the other moles on your body.
- A new mole after the age of 30.
- A mole that hurts, itches or burns
- Bleeding mole
- Scaly or rough texture
- Fast growing or changing mole
How Will a Dermatologist Evaluate the Mole?
First your dermatologist will look at your moles and compare them and examine them. He may also use an instrument called a dermatoscope that magnifies and illuminates moles for a more in-depth look.
If your dermatologist finds moles that are suspicious, he may do a biopsy to remove part of the mole and have it tested to see if it is precancerous or cancerous.
Once that diagnosis is made, the next steps for treatment or follow up observation will be decided.
Is an Atypical Mole Always Cancerous or Precancerous?
Most moles are harmless (benign) and do not need more treatment. Usually when a mole is surgically removed, it does not return.
If you have atypical moles, follow-up skin checks may be recommended by your dermatologist. If a mole is cancerous, then further treatment will be necessary to remove and treat the cancerous cells.