Do moles and other benign lesions in New Orleans require treatment?By Dr. Mary Lupo
When to see a dermatologistYou’ve noticed a mole or unusual spot on your skin. Do you need to see a doctor? If you haven’t had a skin cancer screening in the last 12 months, the answer is yes. Everyone should have an annual screening, during which your dermatologist will examine all moles, marks, and growths.
Moles that have just developed, or that have changed since your last screening, may be cause for concern. Common moles are generally small, unchanging, and uniform in appearance. Changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole is one of the primary warning signs. Other indications of melanoma include unusual color, uneven edges, irregular shape, or a large diameter (bigger than a pencil eraser).
Diagnosis and treatmentYour dermatologist will visually examine the mole. If it is potentially cancerous, a biopsy (small tissue sample) will be taken for analysis. This ensures an accurate diagnosis, because atypical moles (dysplastic nevi) visually resemble melanoma. If the lesion is cancerous, prompt treatment is critical. There are several methods of removing skin cancers. The best choice depends on several factors, including the type of skin cancer, where it is located, and how advanced it is.
If the mole is not cancerous, treatment may not be necessary. However, some patients opt to have benign moles removed as a preventive measure. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an individual with ten or more atypical moles has a twelve percent higher risk of developing melanoma. If you choose not to have these moles removed, they should be monitored closely for signs of cancer.
When in doubt, don’t take chances. Skin cancer can spread rapidly, and the success of treatment is largely dependent on early diagnoses. If you have any concerns about an unusual mole, or any other skin growth or spot, call us at (504) 777-3047 and arrange an examination to have it checked.
Our mission at the Lupo Center is to provide patients with innovative, effective and ethical care to make each person look and feel their personal best. To fulfill our goal, we provide state-of-the-art medical, surgical and cosmetic treatments to all patients.
Board certified dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology Mary P. Lupo, MD has been a leader in the field of non-surgical rejuvenation since 1983. She travels internationally to teach her innovative techniques, and her reputation brings in patients from around the country. She started the first formal residency training program for injectables and peels in 1983 at Tulane Medical School and served as past president of Women’s Dermatologic Society, adjunct professor of dermatology at Tulane and a founder of Cosmetic Boot Camp. Dr. Lupo holds membership in many prestigious dermatology associations, participates in clinical trials for approval of new drugs and devices and acts as an advisor for numerous aesthetic-minded companies.