What is Dysplastic Nevus?
Dysplastic nevi, or atypical moles, are simply odd-looking yet benign moles — meaning they are noncancerous. “Nevi” is the plural of “nevus,” but both words mean “mole.” These can cause a lot of concern for people looking for early signs of skin cancer on their bodies during the course of self-examination since they can look a lot like melanoma. Sometimes these atypical moles indicate an elevated risk of developing melanoma. Our team of board-certified medical professionals at Skin Cancer Consultants in Dallas, TX, led by dual-trained Mohs surgeon and procedural dermatologist Dr. Thornwell Parker, is dedicated to educating you about the differences in your moles, and when you should or should not be concerned.
"Great experience. Dr Parker and staff made me feel at ease when getting four skin cancers removed off my face. Scars barely visible. So thankful my Dermatologist recommended Dr. Parker. Highly recommend."- D. . / Wellness / Feb 17, 2016
"All the staff was very professional."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Oct 12, 2017
"Dr. Parker is excellent!"- B.M. / Google / Oct 08, 2017
"The best of the best! He came highly recommended by a doctor we have great respect for and he certainly was correct. Dr Parker has taken perfect care on all four visits for Ralph."- A.W. / Google / Sep 10, 2017
"I was diagnosed with 2 basal cell carcinomas requiring Mohs surgery by a dermatologist in McKinney. One was on my face and the other on my leg. I researched plastic surgeons specializing in Mohs surgery and found Dr. Parker. I had my surgery 2 weeks ago. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Dr. Parker and his whole staff were very encouraging, caring and talked me through every step of the process. I felt very safe and comfortable and never felt I was being rushed. He took the time to explain everything he was going to do and gave me time to ask any questions. Other than a little prick from the initial numbing shots, I felt no discomfort. My incisions were bandaged and I went back the next day for sutures. Each incision required 14 stitches. His nurse explained exactly how to care for them. 1 week later I went back to have the sutures removed and they were covered with steri strips. While I was there, I asked for a full body check, as I didn't feel my original dermatologist had done a thorough check. Dr. Parker found 2 more suspicious spots, 1 was precancerous which he removed all of with the biopsy scrape and another on my back was basal cell which I will be going back for another surgery. So thankful he checked me thoroughly, checking from my scalp to between my toes. Dr. Parker will now be my dermatologist. I can't recommend them highly enough!"- C.A. / Yelp / Aug 13, 2017
Essentially, normal moles are just common brown spots presenting as small, round, symmetrical and evenly colored spots. Almost everyone has them and they aren’t generally a cause for concern. They can be flush against the surface of the skin or raised and usually round. Genetics plays a large role in the development of moles. Freckles (lentigo) appear similar, but are usually flat and are often the result of exposure to the sun. Most melanomas start in normal appearing skin, but occasionally can begin inside an atypical mole. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the ABCD and Es of spotting atypical or unusual moles. “Asymmetry” means that they are differently shaped from left to right. “Border” means the edges are irregular and not smooth. “Color” refers to irregular and random colorations of tan, brown, or black. “Diameter” refers to sizes bigger than 6mm, about the size of a pencil eraser. “Evolving” means that they have evolved or changed size or features from the last time you saw them. Consider checking yourself monthly and consider taking pictures to keep track of your moles.
Causes and Risks
If you are prone to atypical moles and other skin cancer warning signs, you should remain diligent about your skin care. If you have light eyes or light skin, be extra cautious. If you have many moles and freckles, that may be an indication of an increased risk for cancer. Having a personal or family history of skin cancer, an inability to tan, or a propensity to sunburn are also warning signs. Finally, if you suffer from hypersensitivity to the sun and have had repeated sunburns, it is important that you keep a close eye on your skin henceforth. Keep tabs on the moles present on your body, so that you can track any changes that occur and don’t hesitate to contact Skin Cancer Consultants about any concerns.
If you spot any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should come in to have the spot examined. If suspicious, our team may remove all or part of the mole for microscopic analysis. Some doctors adhere to the practice of removing all atypical moles, wanting to excise them completely. Other doctors approach atypical moles with an eye toward their risk level, removing only those that have the most danger. Our medical professionals approach each mole as a unique situation and will decide at that time if it should be removed or not. Regardless, it is crucial that you have regular monitoring for new or existing atypical moles, so in case one is malignant, it can be treated appropriately as soon as possible.
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Prevention is paramount when protecting yourself from skin cancer. In addition to taking note of your moles and performing a self-examination on a monthly basis, you should also wear an SPF of 30 or higher any time you will be exposed to the sun. Protective eyewear, clothing, and sunhats are also highly recommended when you will be in the sun for long periods of time. If at any point you become suspicious of a mole, call our Skin Cancer Consultants team immediately to set up an examination. When it comes to skin cancer, the best outcomes are the result of early diagnosis and thorough treatment.