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There’s nothing fun about finding an atypical or suspicious mole on your skin, especially with skin cancer being so common as it is in the United States. However, not all odd-looking moles are something to worry about!
If you have a dysplastic nevi, better known as an atypical mole, the board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin are experienced in examining, diagnosing, and removing moles. Learn more about dysplastic nevi below, and contact our state-of-the-art clinics in Tennessee if you have any additional questions or concerns.
WHAT are Dysplastic Nevi?
Dysplastic nevi, also known as atypical moles, are suspicious-looking moles that present irregular features under a microscope. This type of mole is often larger than normal (i.e., bigger than a pencil eraser), has misshapen borders, and tends to have uneven coloring, ranging from tan to dark brown shades on a pink background.
Dysplastic Nevi FAQ
The exact cause of dysplastic nevi is still being researched, but scientists believe they are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Dysplastic nevi can be spotted by following the ABCDE guide from the American Academy of Dermatology. This guide is used as a starting point for spotting irregular moles and skin cancer early.
- A for Asymmetry: One half doesn’t look like the other.
- B for Border: Mole shape is irregular or poorly defined.
- C for Color: It shows a variety of colors.
- D for Diameter: It’s bigger than 6 mm (size of a pencil eraser).
- E for Evolving: The mole has changed in size, shape, or color.
If you notice a mole with any of the warning signs mentioned above, we highly recommend consulting a board-certified dermatologist immediately. Contact Cumberland Skin today to schedule an appointment.
Though moles usually emerge during childhood and adolescence and change in size and color as you grow, new moles can certainly appear out of the blue. This is common when your hormone levels change, such as during pregnancy.
Dysplastic nevi, which are sometimes referred to as the “ugly duckling” moles, can sometimes appear suddenly, but in many cases, it’s nothing to worry about, as it’s rare that these turn into skin cancer.
Dysplastic nevi may be occasionally itchy. However, an itchy mole that crusts over, doesn’t heal, or is red and swollen, may be a sign of melanoma skin cancer.
If you have an atypical mole that’s itchy and showing additional warning signs of skin cancer, schedule a skin cancer screening with a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible.
While dysplastic nevi show abnormal features, they are usually not cancerous. Though having a large quantity of atypical moles poses a higher risk of developing melanoma, which is why it’s important to get dysplastic nevi looked at by an experienced dermatologist.
If you’re in the Lebanon, Hermitage, or Hendersonville areas of Tennessee, contact us to schedule a skin cancer screening with Cumberland Skin to have a board-certified dermatologist examine your skin.
In many cases, atypical moles do not require treatment. However, if you have a large quantity of dysplastic nevi, your board-certified dermatologist will likely want to keep an eye on your moles for any changes or transformations.
Furthermore, if your dermatologist thinks a mole looks suspicious, you might need a biopsy for a definitive diagnosis. And, in some cases, a dysplastic nevi that has changed shape, color, or size may require removal.