Deerfield, IL Dermatologist
Deerfield Dermatology Associates
707 Lake Cook Road, Suite 280
Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 480-0004
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Actinic Keratosis

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

 

THE ABCDs of MELANOMA

Everyone has moles, sometimes 40 or more. Most people think of a mole as a dark brown spot, but moles have a wide range of appearance.

At one time, a mole in a certain spot on the cheek of a woman was considered fashionable. Some were even painted on. These were called beauty marks. However not all moles are beautiful. They can be raised from the skin and very noticeable, they may contain dark hairs or they may be dangerous.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups. They are usually brown in color and can be various sizes and shapes. The brown color is caused by melanocytes, special cells that produce the pigment melanin.

Moles probably are determined before a person is born. Most appear during the first 20 years of a person's life, although some may not appear until later in life. Sun exposure increases the number of moles.

Each mole has its own growth pattern. At first, moles are flat and tan, pink, brown or black in color like a freckle. Over time, they usually enlarge and some develop hairs. As the years pass moles usually change slowly, becoming more raised and lighter in color. Some will not change at all. Most moles will slowly disappear seeming to fade away. Others will become raised as far from the skin that may develop a small stalk and eventually fall off or are rubbed off.

This is the typical life cycle of the common mole. These changes occur slowly since the life cycle of the average mole is about 50 years.

Moles may darken with exposure with exposure to the sun. During the teen years, and with birth control pills and pregnancy, moles often get darker and larger, and new ones may appear.

Recent studies have shown that certain types of moles have a higher-than-average risk of becoming cancerous. Some may develop into a form of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma. Sunburns may increase the risk of melanoma. People with many more moles than average (greater than 10) are also more at risk of melanoma.

Moles are present at birth in about 1 in 100 people. They are called congenital nevi. These moles may be more likely to develop a melanoma than moles which appear after birth. When a congenital nevus is more than eight inches across, it poses the greater risk for developing melanoma.

Moles known as dysplastic nevi or atypical moles are larger than average (usually larger than a pencil eraser) and irregular in shape. They tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, sometimes reddish uneven borders or black dots at the edge. These moles often run in families.

Recognizing the early warning signs of malignant melanoma is important. Remembering the ABCDs of melanoma when examining your moles.


A stands for ASYMMETRY, when one half of the mole doesn?t match the other half.

B stands for BORDER, when the border of edges of the mole are ragged, blurred or irregular.

C stands for COLOR, when the color of the mole is not the same throughout or if it has shades of tan, brown, black, red, white or blue.

D stands for DIAMETER, when the diameter of a mole is larger than 6mm, about the size of a pencil eraser.


If a mole displays any of these signs, it should be checked promptly by a dermatologist.

Many people have flat moles. It is important to remember that not all moles look alike. They may be skin colored or pink, light tan to brown and even blue-black. They may be round or oval, or their shape may be slightly irregular. They may be flat or raised, large or small with or without hairs, mottled or evenly colored. If the appearance of a mole worries you or if it changes suddenly in any way, you should consult a dermatologist.

For more information on moles and skin cancer, please consult your physician at Deerfield Dermatology Associates, Ltd. or visit www.aad.org or SkinCancerNet.

 

Board Certified Dermatologists

Dr. Burton E. Silver, M.D., Emeritus
Marcia E. Johnson, M.D.
Jonathan A. Dalton, M.D.
Divya Singh-Behl, M.D.
Madhuri V. Konanahalli, M.D.

Stefanie Kadolph, MMS, PA-C

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walk-ins not accepted.

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Deerfield, IL Dermatologist Deerfield Dermatology Associates 707 Lake Cook Road, Suite 280 Deerfield, IL 60015 (847) 480-0004
Call For Financing Options