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When are moles a concern for skin cancer?

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it can be rather easy to spot with routine evaluations by a dermatologist. Dr. Paul Yamauchi and his team at the Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center can provide routine skin cancer screenings for patients on an annual basis, while also examining changes to the skin between these visits that might suggest the presence of cancerous cells.


Melanoma and moles

Moles are a common area where a dermatologist will spot signs of skin cancer. However, having a mole doesn’t mean that you have cancer. Moles are present on the body at birth and often last a lifetime. Moles themselves are harmless. If a mole changes, however, it may be a sign that cancerous cells exist. Changes of the moles are often the indication a dermatologist needs to take a biopsy and evaluate further.

The moles that are most likely to develop into a cancer indicator are those that look different than other moles present on the body. Additionally, new moles that develop after the age of 25 may be of concern as well. Changes in the mole’s shape, size, color, and depth should be evaluated by a professional to determine if cancerous cells are present.


How is skin cancer diagnosed?

To determine if skin cancer is present, a doctor will take a biopsy of the mole in question. A biopsy is the removal of a small portion of the mole that is sent to a laboratory for further examination. Cancerous cells that are present in the biopsy will provide an appropriate diagnosis. Depending on the type of cancer present and the size of the cancerous cells, patients will discuss treatment with their doctor. In most cases, some form of excision is recommended before the use of radiation or chemotherapy.


Request a skin cancer screening today

At the Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center, our doctors provide the best possible care for new and current patients. If you are concerned about changes occurring to one or more moles on your body, it is time to request an appointment with Dr. Paul Yamauchi and associates. Contact the office at (310) 829-4104 and book a cancer screening today at our practice located at 2001 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite #1160W in Santa Monica, CA.

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