Moles (Nevi): Understanding and Treatment at Midtown Dermatology
Moles, also known as nevi, are common skin growths that are usually harmless. However, they can become abnormal and sometimes turn into skin cancer. While not all moles are cancerous, it is important to be aware of their appearance and any changes to new or existing moles. Underscoring the importance of understanding and addressing moles is extremely important, as melanoma development in moles can be life-threatening.
Understanding Moles: Moles, or nevi, can appear anywhere on the body. They vary in size, shape, and color, ranging from flat and colorless to raised with distinct coloration that sets them apart from surrounding skin. Moles usually develop after birth and before mid to late 30’s. However, some people are born with a mole (congenital nevi), moles that develop after a person is in their mid to late 30’s are considered abnormal and need to be evaluated.
Causes and Development: Moles emerge due to the overproduction of cells responsible for skin color, called melanocytes. This can be triggered by excessive sun exposure, hormonal changes (such as after trauma or pregnancy), or genetic factors passed down from parents.
Moles and Cancer: While most moles are not cancerous, some can become cancerous. To determine if a mole has an atypical concerning feature, use the ABCDE tool:
- A: Asymmetry – one side of the mole is not a mirror-image of the other.
- B: Borders – irregular borders.
- C: Color – more than one color or shade of brown in a single mole.
- D: Diameter- larger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser.
- E: Evolving – changing over time.
We also utilize “the ugly duckling theory” to determine if a mole needs to be evaluated and possible removed with a biopsy. This theory refers to a spot that looks different than other spots on a person’s skin, such as a different shape, size, color, or one that is changing.
Consultation at Midtown Dermatology: To address moles effectively, schedule a consultation with our team. We will assess your moles, determine any risks, and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan for monitoring or removing any concerning lesions.