Everyone has moles. Moles can have a variety of appearances and can appear anywhere on the skin. They are usually brown in color and can be various sizes and shapes. Certain types of moles have a higher than average risk of developing into a type of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma. This risk is increased by sunburn and other factors. Some early warning signs of malignant melanoma include asymmetry (one half of the mole does not match the other); an irregular border (ragged or blurred edges); multiple shades or colors within a mole (such as varying shades of brown, black, red, white, or blue); or a mole that is larger than a pencil eraser in size. If a mole displays any of these signs, it should be looked at promptly by a dermatologist. It is also recommended to have moles evaluated that are showing signs of change, or if you have a higher than average number of moles on your body.
Treatment Options (not limited to):
Most moles do not require treatment. A dermatologist will remove a mole that bothers a patient, a patient finds unattractive, or if the mole could be skin cancer. The dermatologist cuts out the entire mole and stitches the skin closed. If the dermatologist suspects that the mole contains cancer, the dermatologist will send the mole to be further examined under a microscope. This is called a biopsy.
A shave removal or shave biopsy is a method of removing a mole that is commonly performed when the mole lies above the surface of the skin. This method is one of the more preferred methods by both patients and dermatologists, especially when it is done for aesthetic purposes. The entirety of the mole is not removed, only the part that is visible.