Do you examine your moles regularly? Seemingly minor changes in a mole can be a sign of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. Fortunately, a mole check from your Chicago, IL, dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, can help you protect your health.
How does a mole change if I have skin cancer?
You may notice one or more of these signs if your mole is cancerous:
- Your mole changes color: Color changes, whether they affect the entire mole or just part of it, are a cause for concern. Let your Chicago dermatologist know if your mole is getting darker or if it has become red, pink, blue, white, black or another color.
- Your mole doesn't look the same: If you think that your mole used to be smaller or more symmetrical, you're probably right. Moles that change over time must be examined. If you think that your mole is larger than before, see that one half doesn't match the other, or notice that the borders of the mole are now blurred, rough, or irregular, schedule a mole check.
- You have a large mole: Moles that are larger than the size of the eraser at the end of your pencil are more likely to become cancerous.
- Your mole is painful or uncomfortable. Moles that bleed, itch, crust over, or ooze fluids should be examined promptly.
How do dermatologists treat suspicious moles?
Your skin doctor will remove your mole and send it a laboratory for testing. Before the mole is removed, a local anesthetic will be applied to your skin to ensure that you don't feel any pain during the minor procedure.
If the mole is cancerous, some of the cancerous cells may have penetrated deeper into your skin and will need to be removed. In some cases, Mohs surgery, an innovative surgical procedure that removes skin layer-by-layer and causes minimal scarring, may be recommended. Depending on the stage of the cancer, other treatments may include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment.
Do you need a mole check? Call your Chicago, IL, dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at (773) 763-6000 to schedule an appointment, today!