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More than one million people in the United States are living with melanoma, a severe type of skin cancer. Ali Hendi, MD, and Joy Green, PA-C, offer comprehensive skin evaluations at their practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which focus on identifying atypical moles, called dysplastic nevi. These moles can become malignant in the earliest stages. Dr. Hendi also specializes in outpatient Mohs surgery to treat existing cancer. If you have concerns about suspicious moles, schedule a dysplastic nevi evaluation by phone or by using the online booking feature.
Dysplastic nevi are atypical moles that grow on the surface of your skin anywhere on your body. These moles have irregular features when viewed under a microscope, and they may develop due to a combination of your environment and genetic background.
While dysplastic nevi are generally benign skin growths, you shouldn’t ignore them. Having this type of atypical mole can increase your risk for dangerous skin cancer, known as melanoma.
Specific factors that increase your risk for atypical moles becoming cancerous include having:
A family history of melanoma also increases your risk for dysplastic nevi developing into cancer.
Dysplastic nevi can be challenging to identify, especially if you have normal moles. While Dr. Hendi can perform a thorough skin evaluation to find atypical moles, there are things you can look for during at-home skin checks.
An easy to remember method for identifying dysplastic nevi involves the alphabet, specifically ABCDE.
To determine if your mole is asymmetrical, draw a line through the middle to see if both sides of the mole match.
Borders of atypical moles appear uneven and may have edges that appear scalloped or notched.
Cancerous moles often appear to be different colors, such as black, brown, and tan, and may change in color to red, blue, or white as they grow.
Dysplastic nevi that are larger than a pencil eraser are often a serious warning sign that the mole is atypical or cancerous.
Evolving describes any changes in shape, color, or elevation on your skin that occurs in a mole. This also includes new symptoms that affect the skin around the mole, such as bleeding, itching, or crusting over.
Initially, Dr. Hendi creates a plan to monitor dysplastic nevi carefully. Depending on the appearance and changes in a suspicious mole, he may recommend a biopsy to confirm if the mole is benign or cancerous.
If a biopsy shows cancer is present, Dr. Hendi can perform Mohs surgery to treat it. This procedure involves removing one layer of your skin at a time. Dr. Hendi carefully evaluates this skin under a microscope as he removes each layer, checking for signs of cancer cells. He continues removing layers until he can no longer detect cancer in the skin.
Mohs surgery is a specialized procedure Dr. Hendi performs on an outpatient basis in his in-office surgical center. You can learn more about the benefits of Mohs surgery for treating dysplastic nevi by calling Dr. Hendi’s office today or by requesting an appointment online now.