Moles Treatment

Moles and their treatment

Moles are very common. They develop in the first few months and years of live and there are very few adults who have no moles at all.

Most moles cause no problems. However, it you have a lot of moles (more than 40-50) then it makes sense to check your moles, or to have them checked.

Why check moles if they are normal and do not cause problems?

Moles generally do not change over time and can be safely ignored. Some moles change as you age and some can become cancerous. Checking moles can detect the first sign of cancerous changes to that the mole can be removed to prevent the cancer spreading.

What type of cancer originates in moles?


A type called malignant melanoma. Unlike most forms of skin cancer, which rarely spread to other parts of the body, malignant melanoma can be both aggressive and invasive.

This means that a melanoma can grow quickly, it can spread through the skin and it can spread to other parts of the body, causing advanced cancer that is difficult to treat.

You should not be overly worried about your moles. But you should be aware of any changes in your moles.


Mole checking

Checking your skin can help you find melanoma early. A dermatologist can show you how to examine your skin and tell you how often you should check your skin. At Cedars Dermatology Clinic we also provide a full digital mole checking service.

If you want to check your own moles, or those of a partner or close friend, its important to understand what a normal mole is like.

A normal mole:

  • Can be a variety of colours – often brown, but a mole can be tan, black, red, pink, blue, skin-toned, or colourless.
  • Is round in shape with smooth edges.
  • Is flat or slightly raised.
  • Looks the same from month to month.

Your moles may not look alike. Even in the same person, moles can differ in size, shape, or colour. Moles can have hair. Some moles will change slowly over time, possibly even disappearing.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin. Moles develop on the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles and palms, and even under the nails.

An abnormal mole is one that shows one of the ABCDE signs described below. If you see a mole or new spot on your skin that has any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, make an appointment to see your doctor or come in for a mole check.


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Cedars Dermatology Clinic
Cedars Dermatology Clinic
Video Description

Consultant Dermatologists Nisith Sheth and Anjali Mahto talk about skin cancer, why it's important to inspect your moles regularly and be checked by a specialist if you have any concerns.

Cedars Dermatology Clinic are a leading group skin and dermatology specialists based in Central London. Cedars offers comprehensive medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology care. They are specialists in dealing with moles, skin cancers, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions for both adults and children.

 5:06   ChannelCedars Dermatology Clinic London PlaylistMoles  

Unfortunately rates of skin cancer have been steadily increasing since the 70s. The main cause of skin cancer is absorption of ultraviolet radiation, UV, which damages skin's DNA at the molecular level. UV is in sunlight and is also produced by tanning booths. It's what causes tanning in paler skin. A suntan is actually the skin's defensive mechanism in response to damage caused by UV. Darker skin absorbs less UV and is therefore better protected from its effects. The increase in skin cancer rates are largely due to people's desire to looked tanned, together with a fall in cost of travel to sunny climates.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer affecting melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in skin. It is also the most dangerous type because of its nature and potential to metastasise – that is spread to other organs of the body. Melanoma can develop from moles and is noticeable in differences or changes in their appearance. Giving that the skin such a visual organ it is easy to screen it and pick up potentially concerning mole differences.
Mole checking therefore provides a simple way in which to detect the incidence of melanoma early, which is extremely important. When caught early, melanoma has a good five-year survival rate of up to 99% but if picked up late, this drops to around 80%, which is of course very worrying. As such, dermatologists recommend that mole checks are carried out regularly. You should check yourself monthly. Higher-risk individuals may need professional check-ups at least once a year and, of course, if you notice any concerning changes to your moles. Some new research, which you might not be aware of, suggests that if you have 11 or more moles on either of your arms then you're at a higher risk of melanoma and should seek professional advice. A self-check is best carried out after a bath or shower and in front of a full-length mirror. But what should you look out for?
Dermatologists use the acronym ABCDE to categorise which features of moles require attention. This refers to symmetry, border, colour, diameter and evolving change. The presence of any one of these features in one of your moles does not necessarily mean you have skin cancer but it does mean you should get it checked out by a dermatologist as soon as possible.
Let's look at each in turn. Asymmetry is apparent when one half of a mole is different in shape from the other. Compare the normal mole on the left with the asymmetrical example on the right.
Look at the mole's borders or any irregular or scalloped? Do any have a poorly defined edge?
What is the mole's colour like? Is it uneven or variable within a mole? How big is the mole? If its diameter is greater than six millimetres, it needs a closer look.
And finally the most important is evolving change. Do you notice that the mole has changed over time in its size, shape or colour?
In addition to these five parameters we also use the 'ugly duckling' sign. Do you notice a mole that stands out from your others, one that is darker or substantially different in size for example? Again, spotting any of these conditions doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer. Moles can naturally get darker, during pregnancy for example, but if you do, or even if you're in any doubt about the condition of one of your moles, you must see a dermatologist as soon as possible. We will then carry out a more thorough check of your moles, examining potentially concerning ones using a device called a dermatoscope. This is effectively a giant magnifying glass with a very bright light built into it that provides a close and very clear look at the mole. In addition to that, selected individuals may benefit from mole mapping using digital imaging, which can help monitor for changes.
Confocal microscopy is a new technology that can provide even more information about a mole and prevent the need for surgery. Cedars is one of only a handful of practices offering this service.
Should we detect anything concerning or unusual, our approach is to remove it under local anaesthetic and send it for a laboratory biopsy that will confirm whether it's cancerous or not. If stitches are in place, that will be removed 10 to 14 days later.
Our key point with respect to melanoma, though, is that prevention is always better than treatment. This means protecting yourself from UV radiation at all times. Wear protective clothing and sunglasses when you're out in the sun and ensure you wear sun-cream on any exposed skin. Your sun-creams should offer broad-spectrum protection, that is protection from both UVA and UVB radiation, and have an SPF of at least 30. Irrespective of this you should always avoid being in the midday sun in equatorial or other hot climates. And we dermatologists are absolutely united in saying that sunbeds are extremely risky and strongly recommend that you avoid them. We are dedicated to ensuring your safety from skin cancer, and you can minimise these risks if you follow these simple steps.

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Cedars Dermatology Clinic
Cedars Dermatology Clinic
Cedars Dermatology Clinic are a leading group skin and dermatology specialists based in Central London. Cedars offers comprehensive medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology care. They are specialists in dealing with moles, skin cancers, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions for both adults and children. Read full bio view less


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Cedars Dermatology Clinic
Cedars Dermatology Clinic

A - Asymmetrical Shape

Moles that are turning into a melanoma skin cancer often have an irregular outline and may not be symmetrical in shape. Normal, harmless moles are usually symmetrical.

B - Border

Normal, harmless moles have smooth, definite and even borders. Melanoma moles usually have irregular borders and seem to blend into the skin at their margins.

C - Color

The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Normal, harmless moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D - Diameter

Moles that are becoming cancerous are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).

E - Evolution

Evolution means change and this is the most important thing to look for when checking your moles. Knowing what is normal for YOU could save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes in colour and/or size (ie it has changed noticeably within a few weeks/months), bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately.

To make an appointment call us on 0207 307 7467

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