Moles, or nevi, are very common, and the vast majority are non-cancerous and will not cause skin cancer. A portion of these moles do contain precancerous cells, a subgroup of moles called dysplastic nevi. While a dysplastic nevus does have precancerous cells, not all need to be removed or pose a skin cancer risk. What are the signs of dysplastic nevus and when should these moles be removed? Dr. Katherine Chiang is a top dermatologist at Precision Medical Specialists who offers diagnosis and dysplastic nevus removal at our medical center in Wellington, FL.
Dysplastic nevi have abnormal cells that increase their risk of developing into skin cancer. These moles not only contain different cells than regular moles, but they also tend to look different. There are a few rules regarding dysplastic moles to identify them from other moles on the body. One is the “ugly duckling” rule, meaning the mole looks different than other moles. The ways it looks different include the other rules of identifying a dysplastic nexus – the ABCDE’s of mole identification:
- A – asymmetrical
- B – border is irregular
- C – uneven color
- D- diameter is usually >6 mm or the size of a pencil eraser
- E – evolving or changing
You can have a mole that fits this description that may never become skin cancer – most do not. But if it is evolving or growing, these are potential signs of problems and may need to be removed to reduce your risk of the mole evolving into melanoma.
Treatment for Dysplastic Nevi
At Precision Medical Specialists, Dr. Chiang is a proponent of preventive measures for skin cancer. If a mole is highly dysplastic or a patient has a high risk of skin cancer due to their medical history or lifestyle, dysplastic nevus removal may be recommended. This is an outpatient procedure that is performed at our state-of-the-art medical center in the West Palm Beach area. Dr. Chiang can perform the procedure with local anesthesia and careful removal to minimize scarring. If a nevus is stable and not changing, Dr. Chiang may recommend observation.
Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the U.S. If you have an irregular mole that fits the criteria of a dysplastic nevus, removal may be an option. To schedule a mole examination with Dr. Chiang at Precision Medical Specialists, contact our office in Wellington, FL, to schedule your appointment.