Moles are common. They can be present at birth, while new moles tend to develop during childhood and young adult life. Moles may be genetically determined or triggered by excess sun exposure. While moles are harmless, sometimes a type of skin cancer called melanoma can grow in or near a mole. This is why it is important to check your skin and be aware of your moles and any changes within them. A dermatologist can perform a thorough exam of your moles and provide education on warning signs, instruction on self-exam, and ways to protect yourself.
A dermatologist should be consulted if you are concerned about a mole, such as if a mole is new, changing, or showing very dark or multiple colors; is asymmetric; has an irregular border; or is large in size. Other warning signs may include itching and bleeding. People with many moles (more than 50), atypical moles (dysplastic nevi), or a family history of melanoma should also see a dermatologist.
A mole may be removed if it looks abnormal and there is a concern for possible skin cancer, for cosmetic reasons, or if it is irritated by clothing or otherwise bothersome. Mole removal is a simple and safe procedure performed during an office visit.
Learn more about what can be done to examine and remove moles. Philadelphia-area patients can contact Dr. Elizabeth Spiers' office to schedule an evaluation. Call (215) 230-4592.