DYSPLASTIC NEVI (atypical moles) are irregular benign moles that may resemble melanoma. People who have them are at increased risk of developing melanoma in the future. The higher the number of moles someone has, the higher the risk; those who have 10 or more have 12 times the risk of developing melanoma compared to the average population. Individuals with dysplastic nevi who also have a family history of melanoma have an extremely high risk of melanoma.
It is very difficult to differentiate an dysplastic nevus with an early melanoma. If melanoma is suspected a biopsy or excision is done and sent to a pathologist. Dysplastic Nevi are categorized into mild, moderate or severe atypia. Treatment is different depending on the type.
Anyone who has an increased risk of melanoma needs to know their skin. Checking your skin monthly can help you recognize if a mole is new or changing. Have a family member look in areas that you can not see. Make sure you have good lighting or take photographs to compare later. If you check your skin too frequently you may not notice the changes happening. At least annual skin checks by a dermatologist are recommended.
Check out our skin cancer prevention page for more tips.
If you are concerned about an irregular shaped or changing mole give us a call.
High Valley Dermatology 208-522-SKIN (7546).