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I Found a New Mole — Now What?

I Found a New Mole — Now What?

Moles, small skin growths that are often raised and light or dark in color, can appear anywhere on your body, including your scalp, hands, feet, and face. 

Some moles are with you from birth, but others appear unexpectedly. And, some moles can be an early warning sign of skin cancer. So, when you notice a new mole, what should you do?

At Apex Dermatology, Dr. Karin Harp, MD, FAAD, FASDS, Dr. Aria Vazirnia FAAD, Kristin Rupert PA-C, Sherri Anderson PA-C, Mary Hanna BC-NP, Lani Keene LE, Riley McCarthy RN, and our team of skin care specialists provide skin cancer care and mole removal services. 

We’re happy to take a look at unexpected moles at our state-of-the-art offices in Westlake Village, California. We can let you know if your mole is a cause for concern and talk to you about cancer or cosmetic improvement treatments.

You found a new mole: what next?

It’s good to stay in touch with your skin. Cleansing, moisturizing, and caring for your skin gives you a chance for self-exams and mole checks. Sometimes, a new mole shows up in a location where no one used to be.  Or an old mole starts changing rapidly or doesn’t fit in with your other background moles or skin color.

Moles are the most common type of skin growth. A mole happens when groups of certain skin cells cluster together in your skin. Moles are sometimes darker than the rest of your skin and can be either flat or raised.

Once you find a new mole, there are a few steps you should take. 

See if it seems to match your other moles and whether it looks significantly different.  Signs of concern can be rapid change, slow change that leads to three shades of brown in the same spot, or the appearance of black, grey,  blue, maroon, or even white.  If your body highlights the mole for you with a white or pink ring around the mole, it is best to call for a spot check appointment so we can examine the spot in detail.  Sometimes, you might not be a big fan of your new mole. Discolored or raised moles can be unsightly and may be unwanted. That means scheduling a medical visit to evaluate the mole and consider removal or testing.  Reassurance and teaching is also done at these appointments where appropriate.

You should also be aware that there can be a connection between a new mole and potential skin cancer. That’s definitely something you want to get checked out by a professional dermatologist by scheduling a skin cancer screening. 

Moles and skin cancer

Spending time enjoying the sunshine has downsides for your skin, including an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is most likely to affect parts of your skin that are often exposed to the radiation of the sun. 

If you notice a new mole in one of those locations, it could be an early warning sign of developing skin cancer or precancerous changes within a mole. The major concern is the risk of melanoma. This can affect lighter or darker skin and is usually related to old or new sun exposure, but there are also people at increased genetic risk of melanoma over their lifetimes.

Most moles aren’t related to cancer, but skin cancers often start with the appearance of a new or recurrent growth. Flesh-colored or pearly bumps or repeatedly woundable bumps could indicate basal cell carcinoma. A firm, red bump with scale or looks like a little mountain could be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma, the most concerning type of skin cancer, often starts out with a changing old mole or suddenly-appearing dark spot.

If you notice a mole that changes, you should definitely get checked for skin cancer with a consideration for a biopsy or special test like a non-invasive DermTech “sticker test” when indicated.  Skin cancers are often highly treatable, especially with the benefit of early detection.

Treatment options for new moles

To get rid of an unwanted mole, talk to us about what to expect from professional mole removal. The team at Apex Dermatology is experienced with the mole removal process. You should know that all our mole removal techniques are offered on a fully outpatient basis.

Contact the Apex Dermatology team for screening, removal, and support if you've recently noticed a concerning or unwanted mole or spot of concern. Schedule your initial consultation appointment online or over the phone today. 

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