Treatment for Moles
Marilyn Monroe's was dubbed a "beauty mark." But for many patients, moles are far less endearing a feature - particularly abnormal moles. Treatment options exist, fortunately. Our Orlando dermatology practice offers several treatments for moles, ranging from the harmless "beauty mark" to the one that could pose a serious health threat.
Moles are also known as Nevi/Nevus and are very common, especially on pale-skinned people. Moles can be brown, black, tan, red, pink, or blue. They are typically round and can be raised or flat. Normal moles should look the same as time goes on. Abnormal moles are also known as Dysplastic Nevus (DN) or Atypical Melanocytic Nevus (AMN) and can change in shape and size.
Signs and Symptoms
Moles that are new, have changed in any way, or are painful or bleeding should be examined as soon as possible and likely biopsied.
The acronym "ABCDE" is used to evaluate moles to determine if they are abnormal as below:
- Asymmetry - a mole that has different looking halves
- Border - An irregular or hazy looking border around it
- Color - varied color among the mole or different shades
- Diameter - moles greater than 6mm may be more suspicious
- Evolving - a mole that is changing or evolving in size, color, or shape
Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to screening your body at home using Skin Cancer Foundation Self Examination Tips, it is important to have an annual skin screening to have moles checked by a provider at one of our twelve Orlando-area offices. Any moles that are identified as being suspicious are biopsied in the office using a small shave technique. This involves putting a tiny amount of numbing medication around the suspicious spot and shaving off a small piece of the mole to be processed in our lab for evaluation. The biopsy site is easily cared for with Polysporin ointment and a band-aid. The results usually take two to three weeks. If abnormal, we will contact you to recommend if further treatment necessary in order to remove the mole more completely. This is done within our office under local anesthesia to the affected area.
Abnormal moles (Dysplastic or Atypical Melanocytic Nevus) are graded as mild, moderate or severe on the lab report from the biopsy. It is generally recommended that abnormal moles be removed more fully. If a melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) is found, deeper and wider removal is needed. Melanoma can be deadly if left untreated and is graded as Stage one through four based on severity. In most cases, the thicker the tumor, the more serious it is and the higher the risk of spreading to other organs (metastasis). At our Orlando dermatology practice, we specialize in skin cancer treatment. Dr. Steppie is a skin cancer and Mohs micrographic surgery expert. He and his team successfully perform Mohs surgery on patient with suspicious moles regularly. Depending on the mole's stage, he may refer patients to oncologists for further, potentially life-saving treatment.
Refer to our Mohs Surgery page for further details.
Follow up and Outcomes
Patients who have a family history of melanoma or those with abnormal moles should be seen every six months for a total body examination (full skin screening) at one of the Orlando area's twelve offices.
Others should continue self-exams plus annual visits at our practice.
Daily sunscreen is an important step in the prevention of sun damage to the skin and development of melanoma. We recommend using Steppie MD® Antioxidant Sunscreen spray SPF 25. It provides broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays with no chemical sun fillers. This patented product contains the FDA approved physical blocker, Zinc Oxide to reflect light away from the skin.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided by this site is intended solely for educational purposes. This information is not to be used for medical diagnostic purposes and is not intended to serve as a recommendation for treatment and/or management of any medical/surgical condition. Most of all, this information should not be used in place of a physician or other qualified health provider. If you believe you have a medical condition, please contact your physician immediately.