Mole checks and complete skin exams
Examination of the skin for suspicious moles is an important means of achieving early detection for skin cancer and other conditions. It is a quick, painless procedure where the physician fully inspects the skin for suspicious growths. During your exam we will review the ABCDs:
- A: Asymmetry – Does the top look like the bottom? Does the left look like the right? If uneven shape and size is present we call that asymmetry and this may be a sign that the mole is growing abnormally.
- B: Border – An uneven jagged border is suspicious whereas smooth round edges are often, but not always, reassuring.
- C: Color – A uniformly brown lesion is a good sign whereas many shades of black, brown and red is an indication that the spot should be examined.
- D: Different – If a mole is different than all the other spots on a person’s body we identify that as a positive “ugly duckling” sign. Know your skin and examine your body for the changes discussed above. If there are any “questionable” moles come in for an evaluation
Skin cancer diagnosis and removal
Skin cancer is an extremely common condition. There are three main types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Approximately 1 in 5 people will develop a skin cancer in their lifetime and 80% of those will be basal cell carcinoma. While basal and squamous cell carcinoma are highly curable, melanoma is curable only if detected early. Melanoma can be fatal: A frightening statistic is that someone in the US dies of melanoma every hour. Moles that have irregular borders, varied colors, and recent enlargement should be examined by a dermatologist. If you or a family member has a changing mole, schedule an appointment with us for a skin exam.
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Warts are rough bumps that are usually flesh-colored and tend to occur in areas of skin that are prone to trauma such as the hands, feet, elbows and knees. Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus. Typical treatments includes freezing (liquid nitrogen therapy) and may take 2-3 visits to clear the problem. Occasionally for large stubborn warts, other treatments are necessary.
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Other Skin Growths
There are many different types of skin growths, most are “benign”, which means that they are not harmful. Some skin growths are “malignant” or “pre-malignant” which means they are cancerous or evolving into a cancerous lesion. Dermatologists are trained to examine the skin and differentiate between a benign, pre-malignant, and malignant lesion. If the spot is suspicious, a biopsy may be recommended. The biopsy procedure involves removal of a small area of skin for microscopic evaluation by a pathologist. If the skin growth appears benign and removal is desired there are a number of ways to achieve removal depending on the location and size of the spot in question.
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