What Are Moles and Growths?
Moles are brown or black growths on the skin which can appear alone or in groups anywhere on the body. Additionally, patients can have a birthmark which is a colored mark that appears anywhere on the body soon after birth. Most moles, birthmarks, and growths are benign, posing no health risk. However, atypical growths can be diagnosed as melanoma or skin cancer. Therefore, patients should monitor any new growths for changes and see a dermatologist, such as Dr. Khatri, if any concerns appear.
Types of Growths
Birthmarks and moles that form can be classified into one of the following groups:
- Atypical mole: irregular color and undefined borders
- Cafe-au-lait spot: light-brown patch
- Congenital mole: dark and irregularly shaped
- Hemangioma: reddish-purple patch or raised dots
- Mongolian spot: flat, bluish and irregularly shaped
- Port-wine stain: dark red and flat
- Salmon patch: reddish patch, usually on the upper eyelid
BEFORE & AFTER MOLE REMOVAL
If you are uncertain about the appearance of a growth Dr. Khatri can perform an examination of the skin. He will determine if it should be immediately removed or monitored moving forward. Most moles and birthmarks are harmless. However, some atypical moles have the potential to be or become malignant. Moles should be examined if they are larger than 6 millimeters, itching, bleeding, changing color, or changing in size and shape. Additionally, moles in difficult areas, such as the scalp, should be monitored as patients do not see them every day. If your mole is atypical Dr. Khatri will discuss your treatment options with you.
Mole and Growth Treatment
Whether a growth is benign or cancerous it can be removed with surgery, cryotherapy, or lasers. The chosen treatment option and need for anesthesia will depend on growth size. For example, the smaller the growth the less likely anesthesia is needed. Dr. Khatri commonly uses a unique laser device called DermaSculpt™ that has a very tiny laser beam. It can remove very small and minute growths without causing any peripheral damage. Additionally, Dr. Khatri can remove moles and birthmarks for simple cosmetic reasons. At Skin & Laser Surgery Center of New England, Dr. Khatri typically chooses a combination of treatment methods in order to achieve best results.
Risks Factors That Lead to Melanoma
Patients that have the following can be at an increased risk for skin cancer.
- Excessive UV-radiation exposure from the sun or tanning beds
- Fair skin
- Family history of melanoma
- Having several moles or unusually shaped moles
- History of sunburn
- Living close to the equator or at higher elevations
- Weakened immune system