moles

overview

Moles are raised spots on your skin that are typically darker. Almost everyone has at least one mole; most of the time, they’re nothing to worry about. However, sometimes a change in a mole, or new moles, can indicate an aggressive type of skin cancer called melanoma

There are three types of moles: 

  • Congenital: moles that you’re born with 
  • Acquired: moles that appear sometime after you’re born 
  • Atypical (dysplastic): moles that are larger than average or irregularly shaped. If you have this type of mole, which tends to run in families, it can be a sign that you’re at a greater risk of developing melanoma.

evaluation

At Aurora, we offer annual skin cancer checks, and we recommend that you also perform self-checks at least once a year. If you have any moles that concern you, like new moles or moles that have changed shape, size or color, see your dermatologist right away to have them evaluated. It’s also important to have yearly skin checks so your doctor can look for any suspicious spots or changes. 

There are five things doctors look for when evaluating moles: 

  1. Asymmetry: Does the mole look similar on both sides, or is it irregularly shaped?
  2. Border: Is the border of the mole well-defined and smooth, or is it jagged and irregular?
  3. Color: Is the mole one solid color, or does it have more than one color?
  4. Diameter: Is the mole larger than a standard pencil eraser?
  5. Evolving: Has the mole always looked like this, or has it changed?

treatment options

If your doctor suspects you have skin cancer on or around a mole, it needs to be removed. You may also want to have your mole removed for personal reasons.

Once your mole is removed, your doctor will test it to see if it’s cancerous. If so, you’ll need more tests to determine whether the cancer has spread and what sort of treatment might be necessary.

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