Melanoma is an aggressive, potentially life-threatening cancer. It develops when normal pigment-producing skin cells begin to grow uncontrollably and start to invade surrounding tissues. Typically, only one melanoma develops at a time. It can start both in heavily pigmented tissues, such as a mole or birthmark, and in normally pigmented skin. It commonly appears first on extremities, chest, or back, although it can also occasionally occur on the palm of the hand; on the sole of the feet; under a fingernail or toenail; in the mucus linings of the mouth, vagina, or anus; and even in the eye.

Melanoma is usually curable if treated early. It progresses faster than other types of skin cancer and can spread beyond the skin to affect numerous parts of the body, including the bones and brain. Once this happens, melanoma becomes very difficult to treat.

Atypical Moles

Moles are dark growths composed of pigment cells on the skin that are typically formed due to a genetic pre-disposition towards them or because of sun exposure. Many moles are not a medical threat; however, some lesions may result in melanoma skin cancer. These higher-risk moles are irregularly shaped, have dark or light discoloration and will change size, shape, and color. Additionally, if any of the moles begin to bleed, ooze, itch, or become tender or painful, it is necessary to have it checked.

For people aged above 40, is important to have regular checkups with a doctor to screen for melanoma. If the decision is made to remove and analyze a mole, Garrott Dermatology uses modern techniques to minimize scarring and achieve the best cosmetic result.

Remember, if a mole does not change over time, there is little reason to be concerned. But if you see any signs of change in an existing mole, if you have a new mole, or if you want a mole to be removed for cosmetic reasons, contact us.

Types of Moles

Congenital nevi are moles that appear at birth. They occur in about 1% of all people and may be more likely to develop into melanoma (cancer). A mole or freckle should be checked if it has a diameter of more than a pencil eraser or any characteristics of the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry — one half does not match the other half
  • Border irregularity — the edges are ragged, notched or blurred
  • Color — the pigmentation is not uniform; shades of tan, brown, and black are present; dashes of red, white and blue add to the mottled appearance. Changes in color distribution, especially the spread of color from the edge of a mole into the surrounding skin, also are an early sign of melanoma
  • Diameter — the mole or skin growth is larger than 6 mm (0.2 in.), or about the size of a pencil eraser; any growth of a mole should be of concern
  • Evolution — there is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding) or color of a mole

Dysplastic nevi are moles that are irregular in shape and larger than average (larger than a pencil eraser). They tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. Any changes in a mole should be checked by one of our dermatologist to evaluate for skin cancer.

Ocean Springs
24 Marks Road, Ocean Springs, MS 39564
Ph: 228-872-8873
Fax: 228-872-8876

3109 Shortcut Road. Pascagoula, MS 39567
Ph: 228-202-5182
Fax: 228-202-5184

Contact Us

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Mon–Fri – 8.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Sat–Sun – Closed

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