Moles/Nevi St. Louis
Welcome to Mid-County Dermatology, your trusted dermatology center in St. Louis, MO, located in the Missouri Baptist Medical Center. Our expert dermatologists are dedicated to providing exceptional care and expertise in skin cancer screening and mole evaluation. In this article, we will discuss moles, their types, and the risks associated with skin cancer.
What are moles/nevi?
Moles, also known as nevi, are common growths that appear on the skin. They can vary in color, shape, and size, ranging from your natural skin tone to brown or black. Most moles develop during childhood and adolescence, with individuals having an average of 10 to 40 moles by adulthood. These skin growths are generally harmless and often remain stable throughout a person's life.
What are the different types of moles?
Common nevi are small, distinct-edge moles that are pink, tan, or brown. They are the most prevalent type of mole.
Congenital nevi are moles that are present at birth. While they occur in about one in 100 people, they have a higher risk of developing melanoma compared to moles that appear after birth. If a congenital mole is larger than eight millimeters in diameter, the risk of it becoming cancerous increases.
Dysplastic nevi, also known as atypical moles, are larger than a pencil eraser and have irregular shapes. They often have dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. Dysplastic nevi tend to be hereditary, and individuals with these moles may have more than 100 of them. It's important to note that having dysplastic nevi increases the risk of developing malignant melanoma.
Blue nevi are melanotic dermal lesions that commonly present as a blue nodule on the scalp, arms and legs, or buttocks.
Halo nevi are brown, tan, or pink moles that have a circular white patch of skin surrounding them. They can show up anywhere on the body, but are most common on the trunk.
What does a cancerous mole look like?
To assess whether a mole may be indicative of melanoma, it is crucial to remember the ABCDE guide:
A: Asymmetry - One half of the mole is unlike the other half.
B: Border - Irregular, notched, or scalloped edges.
C: Color - Changes in color, multiple colors, or uneven color distribution.
D: Diameter - Moles larger than 1/4 inch (about 6 millimeters) should be examined.
E: Evolution - Any changes in size, shape, color, or height of the mole should be monitored.
What does a skin cancer screening entail?
During a skin cancer screening, our dermatologists will carefully examine your moles and skin. They will assess their size, shape, color, and any changes that may have occurred. By using specialized techniques and their expertise, they can identify any suspicious moles or signs of skin cancer.
Why should I have a skin cancer screening?
Regular check-ups not only provide peace of mind but also play a crucial role in early detection. If any concerning moles or skin abnormalities are identified, our dermatologists can recommend further diagnostic tests, such as biopsies, to determine the presence of skin cancer. Early detection significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and improved outcomes.
What can St. Louisans do to protect themselves from developing skin cancer?
Living in St. Louis means exposure to varying levels of ultraviolet radiation. To protect your skin and reduce the risk of skin cancer, it is important to adopt preventive measures such as:
Avoiding peak sun times between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses.
Avoiding tanning lamps and beds.
Importance of Regular Skin Cancer Screenings in St. Louis
At Mid-County Dermatology, our team of expert dermatologists in St. Louis has extensive experience in skin cancer screening and mole evaluation. Maintaining the health of your moles and being vigilant about changes in your skin is crucial in the prevention and early detection of skin cancer. Remember to schedule regular check-ups and be proactive in protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation. By staying informed and seeking professional care, you can prioritize your skin health and reduce the risks associated with melanoma.