Skin cancer is a very common and potentially serious disease. However, if you account for your risk factors and take early warning signs seriously, you can increase your chances of having a successful outcome. Detected and addressed early, patients with even the most serious form of skin cancer — melanoma — have survival rates as high as 90%.
While moles do typically play a role in skin cancer diagnoses, they’re far from a sure sign. In fact, it’s normal and common to have up to 40 moles on your skin by adulthood. If you hold certain risk factors, however, or if a mole looks suspicious, it might be a cause for concern.
At the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Dr. Hendi and our team of skin cancer experts diagnose and treat all forms of skin cancer. We also provide skin cancer surveillance to detect any early signs that can be easy to miss.
Here’s a closer look at moles and signs that you should pay attention to.
Having a few moles is not a skin cancer risk factor on its own. If you have many moles, however, you have a greater likelihood of developing the disease. For example, having more than 50 ordinary moles raises your risk of developing melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
An unusual mole could be a sign of skin cancer. An unusual mole could also be precancerous, meaning if you don’t get it removed, it could turn into cancer later.
An unusual mole may or may not be a cause for concern, but if it has certain traits, you should get it examined. For example, be on the lookout for moles that show any of the following:
In particular, seek care if your mole is the size of a pencil eraser or larger. However, having it seen earlier is ideal if any of the other signs are present.
You should be especially vigilant about checking your moles and having a professional regularly examine them if you have any of the following risk factors:
And, whether or not you have any of these risk factors, you could still develop skin cancer. So, it would still be wise to check your moles at home regularly and have them examined by a professional on a regular basis as well.Diagnosing and treating moles
If you have a suspicious mole, Dr. Hendi can assess and test it for cancerous cells. This can be done via a skin biopsy or a non-invasive sticker test that can assess the genes in the mole.
If you’re showing signs of skin cancer, your treatment will depend on certain factors, such as the cancer type and location.
To learn more about your moles or to get the care you need, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.