Posts for tag: Mole
What's the most frequent cancer among Americans? It's skin cancer, according to the CDC, and although common, this potentially deadly malignancy can be cured if treated early. At Hecker Dermatology Group in Tamarac and Pompano Beach, FL, your board-certified skin doctors teach their patients to recognize possible signs of skin cancer, particularly in moles. Drs. David and Melanie Hecker know that knowledge truly is power, and in the case of skin cancer, it can save lives.
How do we develop skin cancer?
Experts at the Cleveland Clinic maintain that ultra-violet radiation from the sun and other sources, such as tanning beds, leads to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions on the skin. Other predisposing factors are:
- Being fair-skinned
- Severe and/or frequent sunburns at an early age
Of the three kinds of skin cancers (squamous cell and basal cell being the other types), malignant melanoma is the most insidious and dangerous. It spreads rapidly to other areas of the skin and to major body organs. As with all skin cancers, cure rates soar when lesions are detected in their earliest stages.
Watching your moles
Each year, all people over the age of 40 should have a comprehensive skin examination with their dermatologist. However, eyes-on inspection begins at home, it is important that all patients regularly check for possible skin cancer signs and other changes once a month.
In particular, moles require due diligence. These small, round to oval spots of deep pigmentation may change into skin cancer. Moles, or nevi, often cluster in groups, and a cancerous or pre-cancerous mole may stand out from its neighbors. This is called the Ugly Duckling Sign.
Additionally, moles may exhibit other potentially dangerous deviations over time. The American Academy of Dermatology formulated the ABCDEs of mole inspection to help patients recognize and report changes that they may observe.
- A stands for asymmetry. If one half of a mole does not match the other in size, shape, color, or texture, be sure to show it to Dr. Hecker as soon as possible.
- B means border. If a mole is healthy, its edges will be smooth and not scalloped or notched.
- C stands for color. Healthy moles are one color throughout—typically brown or black. Varying shades of color indicate pre-cancer or cancer.
- D means diameter. If a mole is very large (> 6 millimeters) or grows with time, show it to your skin doctor.
- E stands for evolving. Healthy moles look the same in size, color, and texture for years. If you have a mole which darkens, itches, bleeds, or otherwise changes in appearance, see your dermatologist for a skin exam.
At Hecker Dermatology Group, our professional team offers a wide range of medical and aesthetic skin services to help you keep your skin at its healthiest. Learn more about self-examination by calling for a consultation with one of our physicians today! Our number is (954) 783-2323.
Mole Removal: What to Expect
Worried about that mole? A mole is a dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their skin and moles. Simply thinking about having a skin mole removed might send shivers down your spine, but sometimes it’s necessary for your health. For example, if a biopsy is cancerous, removing the mole can help to stop any cancer from growing more. But many individuals also have moles removed for cosmetic reasons.
What Causes Moles?
Skin moles occur in all races and skin colors. Some individuals are born with moles. Most skin moles appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of a person's life. New moles appearing after age 35 may require medical evaluation, and possible biopsy. Some moles appear later in life. Sun exposure seems to play a role in the development of skin moles. People with high levels of exposure to UV light tend to have more moles. However, moles may also occur in sun-protected areas.
How Is It Done?
Mole removal is a simple kind of surgical procedure. Your doctor will likely choose one of two ways: surgical shave or surgical excision. Surgical shave is done more often on small skin moles. After numbing the area, your healthcare provider will use a blade to shave off the mole and some tissue underneath it. Stitches aren’t usually required. During the surgical excision procedure, your doctor will numb the area. He or she will use a circular blade or scalpel to cut out the mole and some skin around it. The doctor will then stitch the skin closed.
Can a Mole Grow Back?
There's a small chance that a mole can grow back after mole surgery, although there's no way to predict whether this will happen. It's important to understand that no surgery has a 100 percent cure rate. Some mole cells may remain in the skin and may recur in the same area. Some skin moles are more aggressive than others and need closer follow-up and additional treatment.
Are There Any Risks?
Risks of mole removal methods include infection, rare anesthetic allergy, and very rare nerve damage. Follow your doctor's instructions to care for the wound until it heals. This means keeping it covered, clean and moist. The area may bleed a little when you get home, especially if you take medications that thin your blood. It's always prudent to choose a doctor with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will lower the risks associated with this procedure.
Take charge of your health today. Regular self-skin examinations and annual skin examinations by a doctor help people find early skin cancers. If you need a mole check, find a dermatologist near you and schedule your annual skin cancer screening.A simple skin cancer screening could save your life.