Moles are dark skin spots that are mostly harmless but can occasionally become cancerous. Associates in Dermatology offers routine mole exams and suspicious mole diagnostics at offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Punta Gorda, Florida. If you need a mole check or have concerns about a new or changing mole, call your nearest Associates in Dermatology office or book an appointment online today.
Moles are small, dark brown or black spots that form from clusters of pigmented (colored) skin cells. These common skin growths often develop during childhood or adolescence — around 1% of infants have these congenital moles at birth.
Other moles appear later in life. Acquired moles develop as you age and tend to darken. They typically result from sun damage. Atypical moles have unusual or uneven shapes and are usually slightly larger than congenital or acquired moles.
Most people have 10-40 moles, and they’re generally harmless. However, monitoring moles and other pigmented areas of skin is vital in detecting skin cancer, particularly malignant melanoma. Atypical moles are most likely to become cancerous, while congenital moles are the least likely.
You should visit Associates in Dermatology if you spot any changes in your moles, such as:
Cancerous (malignant) moles vary considerably, so they may exhibit all or only a few of these symptoms.
The Associates in Dermatology team assesses your moles visually first, checking them for signs of cancer. If they suspect a mole is cancerous, they’ll likely take a tissue sample (biopsy) for detailed examination.
Harmless moles that aren’t causing any problems don’t require treatment. However, if tests confirm your mole is cancerous, the Associates in Dermatology team performs a surgical removal. They may excise (cut out) the mole and some surrounding tissue to remove all cancer cells.
Alternatively, you may be suitable for Mohs surgery, where your dermatologist takes thin layers of cancerous tissue off and examines each under a microscope. This technique removes all of the cancer cells without causing unnecessary damage to healthy tissues.
You might also opt for surgical removal if the mole is:
Mole removal doesn’t take long and requires no special preparation. Your dermatologist can usually do it during an office visit.
Call Associates in Dermatology to arrange a mole check, or schedule a consultation using the online booking form.