If you find a new mole or have a mole that has changed in appearance, seeing an experienced dermatologist is crucial. At Foxhall Dermatology in Washington, DC, Susan Elliott, MD, offers expert evaluation and treatment of moles and skin cancer at one convenient location. Book an appointment through the online tool or by phone today.
Absolutely not! Nearly everyone has moles on their body. You may have anywhere from a few moles to a few hundred, and in most cases they're harmless. However, because moles are often the first indicator of skin cancer, it's important to keep a close watch on your moles for signs of changes.
If you or your child has congenital moles — those moles that existed at birth or grew during infancy — it's best to get them evaluated by an experienced dermatologist like Dr. Elliott.
Changes to watch for include:
If you notice these changes, or if you suddenly develop new moles, see Dr. Elliott for expert evaluation and effective treatment, if needed.
Dr. Elliott evaluates moles in two main ways. First, she does a thorough exam of the mole and the skin around it. Dr. Elliott performs a microscopic check of the area using a dermoscope, a handheld device that allows her to see the mole at high magnification.
If during this dermoscopy, Dr. Elliott sees precancerous, cancerous, or potentially cancerous growth, she next performs a biopsy.
A biopsy is the only way to diagnose melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. During a biopsy, Dr. Elliott numbs your skin to make sure you're comfortable and then removes part or all of your mole through excision or via a special tool. Next, Dr. Elliott examines the cell sample under a microscope to determine whether it's cancerous.
If you're dealing with precancerous growth or melanoma, removal is the preferred treatment. The method of removal depends on what type of growth you've got, but it's usually a simple outpatient procedure at Foxhall Dermatology.
Often, if you catch melanoma early, Dr. Elliott can completely remove it with a simple excision. If the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or beyond, treatment goes beyond removal and may include chemotherapy, radiation, or vaccine therapy.
Don't ignore a suspicious mole. Skin cancer is treatable in nearly all cases if you get help quickly. Book your appointment online or by phone today.