The more we have learned about skin cancer, the better we are at prevention. At the same time, the prevalence of skin cancer has left many people unsure about how to handle moles on various body parts. The fact is, however, that anywhere from ten to forty moles exist on most people’s bodies.
Moles may look different from one to another, and from one person to another. Sometimes they are black and flat, and other times they are fleshy and light pink. These growths are incredibly unique, which only lends to the confusion people feel when examining the growths on their body. The best way to differentiate skin cancer from moles and determine when treatment is needed is to consult with your experienced Huntington dermatologist.
Moles versus skin cancer: making the determination
Self-examination is the primary way to become familiar with the moles on your skin. Dermatologists recommend that self-examinations be performed at home on a monthly basis. Additionally, professional skin cancer screenings using specific instruments are performed in our office on a yearly basis. If any type of abnormality, such as a change in size or color, is noticed during self-examination, professional screening should be scheduled.
Not every abnormal mole is a sign of melanoma. Certain characteristics, however, may indicate pre-cancerous cells or another type of skin cancer. Your dermatologist can demonstrate how to perform self-examinations and start your skin care routine with a professional exam that will help you recognize areas to monitor.
What happens if a mole is cancerous?
The good news with skin cancer is that a wealth of knowledge now exists. The statistics on the success of quickly detected skin cancers are outstanding, even those involving melanoma. The longer skin cancer goes untreated, the more chance it has to spread to surrounding tissues and the more difficult it becomes to treat. Cancerous growths are treated based on a number of factors, such as size, location, and stage. Our goal in treatment is to remove the entirety of a cancerous growth with the least amount of scarring possible.
Dr. Roger Koreen has more than two decades of dermatologic practice. To learn more about moles and skin cancer treatments, contact The Dermatology and Cosmetic Laser Center at (631) 417-3300.