Do you have a mole that looks a little different these days? Changes in moles can be a sign of melanoma, a type of skin cancer that affects more than 175,000 people in the U.S. every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Your Knoxville, TN, dermatologists, Drs. Robert C. Griffith and Robert D. Griffith, help you protect your health with skin cancer screenings and treatments. Read below to learn if you should be concerned about your mole!
What Changes Warrant a Trip to the Skin Doctor?
Schedule an appointment with your Knoxville dermatologist if you notice any of these changes in your mole:
- Unusual Shape or Borders: Is your mole no longer round? A change in shape can be a sign of cancer. A mole's borders should be well-defined, so if any are blurry, rough, or irregular, it's a good idea to make time for a skin cancer exam. Moles that have suddenly become higher are also a cause for concern.
- Changing Colors: Moles normally remain the same color during your entire life. Black, red, or other colors could be a sign of cancerous or atypical cells. See the dermatologist even if your mole eventually changes back to its previous shade.
- Texture: Healthy moles are usually smooth. Bumpy, dry, or flaky moles need to be examined.
- Discomfort: Moles that have become painful or occasionally ooze clear fluids or bleed may also be cancerous. Itching may seem harmless, but if it occurs frequently, it may be a sign of melanoma.
- Skin Changes: The skin around your mole may become swollen or red if you have melanoma.
- New Moles: A new mole doesn't necessarily mean that you have melanoma, but it's unusual to develop new moles after age 20.
It's also important to pay attention to the size of your moles. Moles larger than a pencil eraser are more likely to become cancerous.
How Is Melanoma Diagnosed and Treated?
If your dermatologist thinks that the mole is suspicious, he'll remove it and send it to a laboratory for testing. You may need additional surgery to remove cancerous cells that have invaded your skin if you're diagnosed with melanoma and might also need radiation treatment, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Don't ignore changes in your moles. Call your Knoxville, TN, dermatologists today at (865) 588-1361 to schedule an appointment.