A mole, or nevus, is a growth of pigmented skin that looks brown, reddish or pink and is raised above the surrounding skin. Common moles have distinct edges, while another type of mole called a dysplastic mole has a more uneven edge. Most common and dysplastic moles do not turn into melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, but they can turn into other types of skin cancer.
The best and most definitive way to tell if a mole might be cancerous is to see Dr. Altchek for an evaluation. In addition to a visual examination of the mole, Dr. Altchek may decide to take a very tiny tissue sample called a biopsy so it can be evaluated in a lab.
There are three common approaches to mole removal: cautery to burn off the mole; freezing the mole with liquid nitrogen; and surgical excision, or removing it with a scalpel.
You should never remove a mole on your own. Even moles that appear “regular” may an indicator of skin cancer, and removing the mole yourself can allow the cancer to spread unnoticed. Plus, removing a mole without the guidance of a doctor can result in infection and scarring.
When skin cancer is determined to be present, Dr. Altchek will use a technique called Mohs surgery to carefully remove the visible discoloration and have it immediately evaluated under a microscope. If the borders if the tissue indicate more cancer is present, that area of the skin will be excised a little more and sent for evaluation. The process continues until all the borders are clear of cancer cells.
Dr. Altchek accepts most major insurance providers.
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