Most people develop 10-40 moles during their childhood and adolescence that may change in appearance or fade over time. It’s important to identify and regularly examine these moles to prevent skin cancer. At Wake Forest Dermatology in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Patricia Matheis, MD, specializes in evaluating and removing your moles to prevent skin cancer from forming. Call Wake Forest Dermatology or use the online booking tool today to schedule an appointment and receive an evaluation with Dr. Matheis.
Moles are a common skin growth that develops due to clusters of pigment-forming cells called melanocytes. You may notice a mole forming on your skin if you see a mark with defining color and texture characteristics, such as:
Most moles are typically oval or round, as well, and are usually the size of a pencil eraser or smaller. However, if you were born with a mole, called congenital nevi, it may be bigger than usual, covering part of your face, limb, or torso.
While most moles shouldn’t cause you complications, they can become cancerous; therefore, you should be aware of changes in your moles that could indicate skin cancer, especially melanoma.
This is the most severe type of skin cancer, occurring when your pigment-producing cells that color your skin become cancerous. While melanoma can develop anywhere on your body, you typically first notice melanoma if you have a mole that changes size, shape, or color.
To prevent melanoma, you should watch for changes in your moles, examining your skin at least once a month. If you notice changes in size, texture, or color of your mole, you should contact Wake Forest Dermatology as soon as possible.
You should also make sure to protect your skin by avoiding peak sun times, using sunscreen year-round, covering up with hats and clothing, and avoiding tanning lamps and beds. These things make you more susceptible to skin cancer, especially targeting your moles. You also increase your chance of developing moles if you avoid protecting your skin.
At Wake Forest Dermatology, Dr. Matheis completes an evaluation of your skin to determine if you have any unusual moles that could develop into skin cancer.
If she’s suspicious of a mole, she’ll most likely remove it to be safe and to help you avoid potential complications. However, she also removes moles that cause you irritation by rubbing against your clothing and other surfaces or moles that you find unattractive on your body.
To remove these moles, Dr. Matheis either makes a surgical excision, cutting out the entire mole and stitching the skin closed if necessary, or shaves off the mole using a surgical blade.
Once she removes the mole, she examines it under a microscope to check for cancer cells. If she finds the presence of cancer, Dr. Matheis has you come back to her office to complete further tests and create a treatment plan.
To receive an examination of your moles, call Wake Forest Dermatology or use the online booking tool today to schedule an appointment.