Moles, or nevi, are pigmented growths on the skin, that are actually clusters of melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells of the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body, be flat or raised, and are usually harmless. Malignant moles, however, are those that are likely to develop into cancer, specifically melanoma. Dr. Dolder at Greenwich Point Dermatology is well-trained in spotting, diagnosing, and treating malignant moles, reducing your risk of developing deadly melanoma.
How do I know if a mole is malignant?
Malignant moles are those that have taken on suspicious characteristics due to mutations in their DNA. These mutations are most often caused by damage from the sun, or ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
These suspicious characteristics include:
- asymmetrical inshape
- more than onecolor
- larger than2cm
- evolving overtime
If a mole is new, that can also be cause for concern. Additionally, having 50 or more moles increases the likelihood for developing melanoma.
What are my treatment options for malignant moles?
The best treatment is regular monitoring of any suspicious lesions. At Greenwich Point Dermatology, annual skin checks are recommended. During these exams, you will be fully examined from head to toe for any suspicious lesions. Regular check-ins allow for any changes to be documented and for immediate biopsy and/or treatment of any mole that has taken on unusual or precancerous-like qualities.
If a suspicious mole is detected, Dr. Dolder performs a biopsy to submit to the lab for examination of any cancerous cells. If the mole is malignant, further excision may be required to prevent the cancer from spreading.