Moles Specialist

Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center

Eleanor Y. Ford, MD

Dermatology Clinic located in Silver Spring, MD

Usually, moles are normal clusters of melanocyte cells. Most people have between 10-40 by the time they reach adulthood. However, moles can also be early warning signs of skin cancer. If you often grow new moles that are abnormal in shape, size, and color, seek attention from an experienced, board-certified dermatologist such as Dr. Eleanor Y. Ford of Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Call or book an appointment online today.

Moles

by Eleanor Y. Ford, MD

What is a mole?

A mole is a skin growth that’s usually circular and brown, black or flesh colord. Also normal moles may be flat or raised. They should not change or itch. Moles develop when skin cells called melanocytes group together. Melanocytes are the pigment cells that give skin its color. The cells may change color over time, for example, exposure to the sun and the hormonal fluctuations of adolescence and pregnancy can cause moles to become darker. Other moles may fade over time.


How can I tell if a mole is cancerous?

First, remember that in most cases, moles are completely normal and healthy. In fact, most adults have between 30-40 moles, and most of them aren’t dangerous at all. Nonetheless, it's important to monitor your moles for any changes, especially if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer. The characteristics of cancerous moles are referred to as ABCDEs.

  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Color
  • Diameter
  • Evolution

If you notice that one of your moles changes color, height, shape, or size, make an appointment to have Dr. Ford examine it. It's also abnormal for moles to bleed, itch, or become sore, so indicators should also encourage you to book an appointment with Dr. Ford.


What happens during mole removal?

Dr. Ford uses a variety of methods for mole removal, depending on your specific condition and needs. The most common method for mole removal is excision. During this procedure, Dr. Ford cleans your skin and applies a local anesthetic. Using a small scalpel, Dr. Ford removes the mole and some surrounding skin. For a larger mole, a stitch might be necessary to close the incision. The removed mole will be sent to a labratory for analysis.