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Same or next day appointments available with a board certified dermatologist

Female with many brown moles growing on her neck and back

Moles

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in examining moles. He was trained by one of the countries experts in melanoma and has authored papers on diagnostic techniques for melanoma as well as skin cancer screening. He is very thorough in his examinations and takes great care in making sure that no concerning spots are missed. If you have any moles or other growths you are worried about, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

When do I need to have a mole removed or biopsied?

The best way to determine if a mole needs to be biopsied is to have it evaluated by a professional who is trained to properly evaluate moles and other skin growths. Preferably this should be done by a board certified dermatologist who is trained in dermoscopy (a technique of looking at the skin with a specialized instrument that allows visualization of features found in the deeper layers of the skin). If your dermatologist notices concerning features, or if there is a history that causes concern, a quick in-office biopsy may be done with results returning in less than a week.

Can I still have a mole removed even if it’s not concerning?

Yes! A mole does not have to be concerning for cancer for it to be removed. If your dermatologist does not find any concerning features, any removal will be considered cosmetic and will not be billed to your insurance. Cost will vary depending on the size, location, and type of removal. Any surgical removal will leave a scar, but every attempt will be made to minimize the appearance of the scar. Your dermatologist will have a discussion with you about options for removal and the likely appearance of the scar prior to determining if removal is right for you.

See a Board Certified Dermatologist today!

Portrait of Ryan Harris, MD

Dr. Ryan Harris, MD is a board certified dermatologist located in Meridian, Idaho who has over a decade of experience in examining moles. He was trained by one of the countries experts in melanoma and has authored papers on diagnostic techniques for melanoma as well as skin cancer screening. He is very thorough in his examinations and takes great care in making sure that no concerning spots are missed. If you have any moles or other growths you are worried about, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

A is for Asymmetry - The two halves of the spot are not the same

B is for Border - The border of the spot is irregular or poorly defined

C is for Color - The spot contains multiple colors

D is for Diameter - Most melanomas are larger than 6mm or the size of a pencil eraser

E is for evolving - The spot looks different than other moles or changes in size, shape, or color

A is for Asymmetry - The two halfs of the spot are not the same.

B is for Border - The border of the spot is irregular or poorly defined

C is for Color - The spot contains multiple colors

D is for Diameter - Most melanomas are larger than 6mm or the size of a pencil eraser

E is for evolving - The spot looks different than other moles or changes in size, shape, or color

What are moles?

A mole or "nevus" is a common benign growth due to a proliferation of pigment producing cells called melanocytes. They can have many different appearances. Some stick out significantly from the skin, while others are only slightly raised or flat. They can be brown, pink, tan, black, or even blue in color.

What causes moles?

Moles typically appear during childhood, adolescence, or in early adulthood. Most people stop growing new moles by about age 40. While there is no precise cause for moles, genetics and the amount of sun exposure play significant roles in the appearance of moles.

Are moles dangerous?

The vast majority of moles are not dangerous and pose no risk to turn into a skin cancer such as melanoma. For this reason, the majority of moles do not need to be removed. If a patient has a high number of moles (greater than 50) or abnormal looking moles (dysplastic nevi), this can be a sign that a patient is at greater risk for developing skin cancer and should have closer observation by a dermatologist.

What should I look for when examining my moles?

Performing a monthly self skin exam is an excellent way to find concerning moles before they become a big problem. You should look at ALL of your body surfaces as skin cancer can show up even in non sun exposed skin. When looking at your moles, we recommend using a helpful mnemonic known as the ABCDE’s of melanoma to determine if a mole is concerning enough to need evaluation by a dermatologist. The criteria are as follows: