Posts for tag: moles

By Shady Grove Dermatology
January 11, 2019
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: moles  

It’s important to know the warning signs of skin cancer. Do you know what to look for?

Most healthy moles are present at birth or develop throughout your youth. Of course, if a mole or lesion crops up later in life you may be wondering if you need to visit our Rockville, MD, dermatologists. After all, the sooner you catch skin cancer, the easier it will be to treat. So, here’s what to look for to determine whether or not a bump, lump, growth, or lesion requires a proper medical evaluation.

More about Moles

If you discover a new spot or growth anywhere on your body that changes in color, size, or shape, this could be a warning sign of melanoma (a potentially life-threatening type of skin cancer). In this case, your first step should be to check the suspicious growth against your other moles, for if it looks different from the rest, then it might be cancerous. The ABCDE rule is one that everyone should follow if they want to look for signs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: Both sides of a mole should look identical to one another. As such, draw an imaginary line down the middle of the growth. If the two sides don’t look the same, the mole should be checked out by one of the skin doctors here at our Rockville office.
  • Border: A healthy mole will have a very clearly defined, smooth border. If the mole has a ragged, uneven, or poorly defined border, this could be another sign of skin cancer.
  • Color: While moles can be different shades of brown or tan, it’s important to recognize that healthy moles should only be a single color. If you notice that the mole has multiple colors or is changing color, this is a warning sign.
  • Diameter: Healthy moles are typically pretty small, measuring less than 6mm across (this is about the size of a pencil eraser). Most melanomas are larger than this, even though there are some melanomas that can also be much smaller.
  • Evolving: As we mentioned before, a mole should stay relatively the same over time. If you notice that a growth is changing in size, shape, or color, then it’s worth having it checked out.

While this rule can save lives, it’s important to realize that not all cases of melanoma follow these rules. This is why it’s important for everyone to come in at least once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening.

Concerned? Give Us a Call!

If it’s time to schedule a screening, or if you are noticing any changes in your skin, it’s a good time to call Shady Grove Dermatology in Rockville, MD. Call us today at 240-246-7417 to schedule an appointment.

By Shady Grove Dermatology
October 29, 2018
Category: Skin Conditions

Learn More About Skin Cancer and Its Early Warning Signs

Skin CancerWhile we know the last thing you want to think about is skin cancer, it is extremely important that you don’t ignore the warning signs. After all, with more than 3 million Americans affected each year, skin cancer is more common than you might realize. Luckily, if skin cancer is caught soon enough, our Rockville, MD, dermatologists can treat the problem before it causes more serious and life-threatening problems. Here’s what you need to know about skin cancer, the warning signs, and your treatment options.

Different Kinds of Skin Cancer

While most people have heard of melanoma, which is the most deadly form of skin cancer, it isn’t the only kind. Skin cancer also includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma; both can appear just about anywhere on the body but are most likely to develop on areas of the body that are regularly exposed to the sun.

Basal cell carcinomas usually appear as flesh-colored or waxy bumps and are often found on the neck or face. Squamous cell carcinomas often develop on the ears, face, or hands, and appears as flat, red lesions that may be scaly or crusted over.

Signs of Melanoma

It’s important that you are performing a self-exam on your skin about once a month so that you are able to detect changes as soon as possible. If in doubt, call your Rockville, MD, skin doctor and let us know what symptoms you are noticing. It’s always best to play it safe when it comes to your health. Of course, there are some warning signs to look out for, including:

  • A very large mole or brown lesion (larger than the size of a pencil eraser)
  • A mole that isn’t symmetrical or has a poorly defined border
  • A mole that changes in size, shape or color
  • A mole or dark spot that bleeds

Treating Skin Cancer

In order to create a treatment plan that will be effective, we will need to perform tests to determine the type and severity of your skin cancer. In order to diagnose skin cancer, we will often take a biopsy of the lesion or growth for testing. Skin care treatments include:

  • Excisional Surgery: One of the most common treatment options, excisional surgery is a procedure that cuts away and removes the lesion, extracting some healthy skin along with it. This is an effective measure for removing both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
  • Mohs Surgery: Another popular way to treat skin cancer, Mohs surgery is performed by removing thin layers of the cancerous growth until the cancer is completely gone. This process takes longer than other methods, however, it is often ideal because it preserves more of the healthy skin around the cancerous growth than traditional surgery.
  • Electrosurgery: This method treats small or superficial cancerous lesions. It involves scraping the growth with a special tool before burning the area to kill remaining cancer cells. This procedure will often need to be repeated several times in order to completely remove the cancer and is not an option for patients who have cancer in difficult-to-treat areas such as the eyelids or lips, or those with more invasive carcinomas.
  • Cryosurgery: If you are dealing with superficial squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), then cryosurgery, the process of freezing the lesion, may be all you need. This procedure can be performed without anesthesia, as there is absolutely no cutting required. Sometimes multiple sessions are required to fully treat the SCCs.

Call Today

If you are noticing any suspicious growths or changes to your skin, it’s important that you have the issue checked out as soon as possible by a skin care professional. Turn to the experts at Shady Grove Dermatology in Rockville, MD, by calling (240) 246-7417.

By Shady Grove Dermatology
August 02, 2018
Category: Skin Care
Tags: moles  

Do you examine your moles regularly? Changes in moles can happen at any time and may be a sign of melanoma, a potentially deadly molescancer. The dermatologists at Shady Grove Dermatology in Rockville, MD, provide skin cancer exams and offer a range of skin cancer treatment options if a mole does happen to be cancerous.

What should I look for when I conduct a home exam?

Keeping your ABCs in mind will help you ensure that you don't miss any suspicious moles. When you check your moles, consider:

  • Asymmetry: Is the mole perfectly round or is one side a different shape or size?
  • Border: Healthy moles have perfectly smooth borders. If the edge of a mole is scalloped, irregular, or poorly defined, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your Rockville, MD, skin doctor.
  • Color: Moles that don't have a consistent color or that change color should be examined.
  • Diameter: Large moles, those bigger than a pencil eraser, are also a cause for concern.
  • Evolving: Look for moles that don't quite look the same as usual. Changes in color, shape, or size can occur if you have melanoma.

In addition to these change, a few other signs may indicate a problem with a mole. If your normally smooth mole becomes bumpy or begins to bleed, you may need a biopsy to determine if the mole has become cancerous. Itching or flaking may also be warning signs.

Be sure to examine every inch of your body during your home exam. A hand mirror can be very useful when you need to check moles in out-of-the-way places.

When should I do if I notice any of these changes?

Any change in a mole, even if it seems minor to you, should be reported to your dermatologist. If your doctor thinks that the mole is suspicious, he or she will remove it and send it to a laboratory for a biopsy. Despite the change in appearance, it's very possible that your mole isn't cancerous.

Should the biopsy determine that the mole is cancerous, you'll need surgery to remove all traces of cancer from your skin. Thanks to innovative surgical techniques, like Mohs micrographic surgery, scarring can be minimized in many cases.

See your dermatologist as soon as possible if you notice any changes in your moles. Call the dermatologists at Shady Grove Dermatology in Rockville, MD, at (301) 840-2266 to schedule an appointment.

By Shady Grove Dermatology
November 09, 2017
Category: Skin Care
Tags: moles   skin cancer  

A change in a mole can be a sign that you have skin cancer, a disease that will affect 20 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, molesaccording to The Skin Cancer Foundation. The Rockville, MD, dermatologists at Shady Grove Dermatology discuss what you should look for when you examine your moles.

When should I be concerned about a mole?

Signs that could indicate the presence of skin cancer in a mole include:

  • Size: Moles larger than a pencil eraser should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
  • Change in Color: Normal moles don't change color over your life. If your mole is cancerous or contains atypical cells, it may become red, black, pink, white or black or a combination of colors.
  • Unusual Border: Do the borders of your mole no longer look smooth? Skin cancer can cause the edges of a mole to become irregular, blurred or rough.
  • A Texture Difference: When your smooth mole becomes bumpy or you notice any other texture change, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with our Rockville office.
  • Shape or Height Changes: Moles that become taller or change shape should also be evaluated.
  • Dryness or Itching: Dry, flaky or itchy moles can be a potential warning sign of skin cancer.
  • Pain or Swelling: Does your mole hurt when you touch it or has the skin around the mole become red and swollen? These changes are also a reason for concern.
  • Bleeding: It's not unusual for a mole to bleed if you happen to accidentally cut it or shave over it. However, if bleeding occurs when you barely bump your mole, skin cancer may be a possibility.

How do dermatologists evaluate suspicious moles?

If your dermatologist feels that the changes in your mole could indicate that you have skin cancer, they will remove all or part of the mole and send it to a laboratory for a biopsy. If the biopsy is positive, you may need to undergo a minor surgical procedure to remove lingering cancer cells. In some cases, chemotherapy or radiation treatments may also be needed.

Don't put your health at risk by ignoring changes in your moles. If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with the Rockville, MD, dermatologists at Shady Grove Dermatology by calling (240) 246-7417.

By Shady Grove Dermatology
December 22, 2016
Category: Skin Care
Tags: moles   skin cancer  

Skin cancer can happen to anyone. Know what to look for when it comes to suspicious skin growths.

How often do you examine your skin? Chances are, not much if at all. While we understand that there is so much to think about on a day-molesto-day basis, but a regular self-exam is a habit that's necessary. Of course, our Rockville, MD dermatologist, Dr. Josef Yeager, recommends keeping an eye out for your skin since even the smallest changes could be trying to warn you of cancer or other problems. Here’s what you should be looking for when it comes to your moles.

While most moles aren’t a cause for concern there are some that can develop malignant melanoma so it’s important to learn the ABCDE of moles so that if there is a change, you can visit our Rockville skin doctor right away:

Asymmetry: A normal mole will be completely even. The one side should mirror the other side. If the mole looks asymmetrical then it’s time to get a checkup.

Borders: If you have melanoma, the mole will have a ragged, undefined border around it. Normal moles will be round with smooth, clearly defined edges.

Color: Healthy moles usually have one color, while melanoma often has different patches of color. If any moles have different shades of brown, black, red or pink, then it’s time to visit a doctor.

Diameter: Melanoma is typically larger than the width of a pencil (around 6mm). While a large mole isn’t always indicative of melanoma, as melanoma can also grow smaller than this, it’s never a bad idea to play it safe and have larger suspicious moles checked out.

Enlargement: If it’s melanoma, a growth may change its color or size over time, and you may also start to notice it elevating from the surface of the skin. If you also see inflammation around the area, then it’s time for a professional evaluation.

Shady Grove Dermatology in Rockville, MD is dedicated to keeping everyone’s skin healthy and safe from the damaging effects of the sun. If you are concerned about any skin changes, or you just want to schedule a professional skin cancer screening, then pick up the phone and give our office a call.

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