Atypical Mole Treatment
A common mole appears as a small, brown spot that generally develops in the early years of a person’s life. Some common moles are pink or tan, although people with darker hair or skin tend to have darker moles.
Who is at Risk for Atypical Moles?
All skin types have some level of risk in developing atypical nevi however; the lighter skin types are most susceptible. Consider how your skin has reacted in the past to sun exposure. If you generally burn more than you tan, then you’re at risk of developing abnormal moles. Although men and women with darker skin have more pigmentation, which acts as a natural barrier, they should still take precautions to prevent extended exposure to UV rays and have regular examinations by a dermatologist. Those who have a family history or personal history of skin cancer are also more vulnerable in the development of irregular moles.
Precautions for Atypical Moles
It is always important to protect your skin from the sun; however, those with irregular moles should take special care to minimize sun exposure and avoid tanning booths.
Atypical moles are considered to be precancerous, but do not always lead to melanoma.
Melanoma is a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. Those who have more than 50 moles may have an increased chance of developing melanoma. You should contact your dermatologist if you notice a change in the color, size, or shape of your moles. Also if the mole becomes hard or lumpy, starts to itch, bleed, or ooze.
Many times it can be hard for patients to tell the difference between melanoma and an irregular mole. Dermatologists can use a magnifying tool called a dermatoscope to view the mole in a manner that isn’t readily available to the naked eye.
Treatment for Atypical Moles
If your dermatologist believes that you may have atypical moles, they will take a biopsy, or remove the mole to examine under a microscope. There are four main types of skin biopsies that may be performed in the office to remove the atypical mole:
Shave biopsy: This is the most common procedure as it is simple to perform, cost effective, and easy to care for. A sterile razor is used to remove the mole.
Punch biopsy: A hollow, circular blade is used to cut into the fatty tissue below the top layer of the skin. This procedure is used for “lesions that require dermal or subcutaneous tissue for diagnosis.” (http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1101/p995.html)
Incisional biopsy: These biopsies are used to identify the composition of the abnormal mole.
Excisional biopsy: These biopsies occur when an entire area of concern is removed.
Incisional and excisional biopsies can be used in cases of tumors.
Your dermatologist will determine the best procedure based upon your specific mole. If the dermatologist deems that the mole is “moderately dysplastic” additional biopsies may be performed to ensure that all of the abnormal cells have been captured. If self-examination leads to any observations of change or growth in your moles, you should notify your dermatologist immediately.
Atypical Mole Treatment in Lithia and Valrico, FL
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