With skin cancer cases rising year after year, it’s no surprise that people are itching…
No doubt, thinking about skin cancer can be worrisome – especially if you have lots of moles or have noticed a raised mole on your body.
In most cases, a raised mole is nothing to fret about, but sometimes, they may be harmful and pose a risk to your overall health and wellbeing. This is why it’s important to know what to look out for when it comes to suspicious moles, including raised or elevated moles and lesions.
The signs and symptoms of skin cancer can sometimes be small and almost imperceptible. Still, with a few tips from our board-certified dermatologists, you’ll be more experienced when determining whether a raised mole is suspicious or not!
What are Moles?
Almost everyone has them, but many aren’t exactly sure what moles are. According to DermNetNZ, a mole is simply a skin growth that is the local proliferation of pigmented skin cells (melanocytes).
This means the melanocytes multiply and concentrate in one spot to form a growth (i.e., a mole). Moles may vary in color from pink to brown or black, depending on how much pigment melanin is made by the melanocytes.
Typical moles can either be flat or raised. Raised moles form due to the melanocytes proliferating between the dermis and epidermis (top and middle layers of skin), which gives the mole a raised or elevated appearance.
When Should You Be Worried About a Raised Mole?
In most cases, raised moles are just as normal as flat moles and usually nothing to worry about. However, there are a few instances where raised moles can pose a risk for skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma or melanoma, which is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer.
Use Cumberland Skin’s dermatologist guide below to learn more about the characteristics of normal moles vs. irregular moles.
Characteristics of a Normal Mole:
- Perfectly round or symmetrical in shape.
- One color throughout the mole.
- Smooth, regular borders.
- Stay the same size over time.
- Small in size. (No bigger than 6mm in diameter.)
Additionally, it’s essential to know that normal moles come in various sizes and colors and may be raised or flat. Though, they should still be round or symmetrical in shape, one color throughout, have smooth borders, and stay the same size over time.
Characteristics of an Irregular or Atypical Mole:
- Asymmetrical shape. (If you cut the mole in half, would the two sides match?)
- It is multicolored and does not present the same color throughout. (May be shades of black, brown, and tan, or areas of white, gray, red, or blue may also be seen.)
- The mole changes over time and begins to show new colors, a different shape, grows more prominent, changes in texture, or flakes/bleeds.
- Borders that are uneven, ragged, or notched.
- It’s bigger than the size of a pencil eraser. (Melanoma comes in all shapes and sizes.)
- The mole is itchy or sore.
Should a Raised Mole Be Removed?
Firstly, it’s essential to visit a board-certified dermatologist for a professional examination. He or she will determine if the raised mole needs to be removed and/or further investigated with a biopsy to uncover if it’s cancerous or not.
Secondly, if the raised mole needs to be removed, dermatologists use a few different removal methods. It’s crucial to note that you should never try to remove a suspicious mole at home. It’s best to visit a professional for mole removal and a more in-depth examination.
At Cumberland Skin, we remove suspicious or atypical moles with the following techniques:
- Surgical Shaving – using a small cut to remove the mole.
- Surgical Excision – using a surgical knife or scalpel to remove the mole along with its surroundings.
- Cryotherapy – freezing the mole off.
- Electrodessication – burning the mole off.
Healthy, Happy Skin Starts with a Professional Skin Check-Up
Have you scheduled your annual skin cancer screening? If you’ve put off getting your skin checked by a board-certified dermatologist or have never had your skin evaluated before, it’s time to schedule your annual skin cancer screening.
Healthy, happy skin starts with a professional skin check-up where a dermatologist examines the skin and determines if your moles are harmless or something to be worried about! Furthermore, if any of your moles are at risk of skin cancer, early detection is critical for the most effective treatment.
If you’re near Lebanon, TN, contact Cumberland Skin to schedule your annual skin cancer screening with one of our friendly, board-certified dermatologists! We’re passionate about helping our patients achieve healthy, happy skin for better overall well-being.
Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology provides effective, compassionate general dermatology, skin cancer surgery, and cosmetic dermatology solutions for our patients throughout the Southeast. With offices in Hermitage, Lebanon, Brentwood, and Hendersonville, Tennessee, we’re your destination for high-caliber skincare. Visit our website or give us a call today at 615-449-5771.