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Moles And Skin Cancer Specialist

FoxHall Dermatology

Dermatologists located in Washington, DC

Moles and Skin Cancer Q & A

Are all moles dangerous?

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 a board-certified dermatologist like Drs. Suah and Ehrlich

What type of mole changes should I watch out for?

Changes to watch for include:

  • Mole growth
  • Change in mole shape
  • Change in mole borders, for example, borders become wavy
  • Change in mole color
  • A mole that grows crusty or otherwise changes in texture

If you notice these changes, or if you suddenly develop new moles, see Drs. Suah or Ehrlich for expert evaluation and effective treatment, if needed.

How are moles evaluated?

Drs. Suah and Ehrlich evaluate moles in two main ways. First, they do a thorough exam of the mole and the skin around it. Drs. Suah and Ehrlich perform a focused exam technique called dermoscopy, which is a handheld device that allows them to see the mole at high magnification.

If during this dermoscopy, Drs. Suah and Ehrlich see precancerous, cancerous, or potentially cancerous growth, they next perform a biopsy.

How does biopsy work?

A biopsy is the only way to diagnose melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. During a biopsy, Drs. Suah and Ehrlich numb your skin to make sure you're comfortable and then remove part or all of your mole through excision or via a special tool. Next, Drs. Suah and Ehrlich examine the cell sample under a microscope to determine whether it's cancerous.

What is the treatment for skin cancer?

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 have, but it's usually a simple outpatient procedure at Foxhall Dermatology.

Often, if you catch melanoma early, Drs. Suah and Ehrlich 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 immunotherapy.

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.