There are parts of skin cells within the skin called melanocytes. The melanocytes normally produce pigment and are evenly spread throughout the skin. They are stimulated by the sun light to grow and expand. Sometimes they grow together in clumps surrounded by normal skin. This clump of melanocytes is called a mole.

A person can be born with moles; these are called congenital moles. Most of the time, we develop moles throughout childhood and early adulthood which can be distributed anywhere over the body. Moles can develop later in life or as a result of sun exposure. The average person has about 10 to 50 moles. An ordinary mole can rarely turn into an aggressive type of skin cancer called melanoma. Dysplastic moles can have irregular edges, are usually hairless, have a poorly defined border with the skin pigmented or shaped, or appear larger than a pencil eraser. Dysplastic moles need to be biopsied and usually removed. In young people ages 25 to 30, melanoma can become a comparatively more common form of cancer; this needs to be kept in mind. These melanomas are most often found on the sun exposed skin of the, back, face, and lower legs.

It is a good idea to know your moles well. Examine them periodically, perhaps in a mirror, and look for any change in their shape, size, regularity of their edges, or variations in pigmentation. Congenital moles are slightly more apt to undergo dysplastic changes; the same is true of a person who has more than about 100 moles.

A doctor can provide a number of services concerning moles. Moles may be viewed diagnostically and medically. Your doctor should always be not only genuinely concerned medically with the mole but with the final results aesthetically as well. We use optical equipment to magnify the mole to look for suspicious changes. Photography is available to record and document the size and character of a mole. A physician may recommend a simple in-office biopsy procedure so that microscopic evaluation can be done (this does not increase the chances of the mole spreading). Otherwise, if the mole is suspicious, if it is chronically irritated, or if it simply seems unsightly to you, it can be removed by a number of techniques. It can be removed by a scalpel under a local anesthetic. It can be removed by a laser, or it can be removed by electrocautery. Sometimes it can be frozen with a cold probe or liquid nitrogen. The choice often is dictated by the mole type, risk, your skin type, and the procedure which works the best. We are an aesthetic center and little or no scars results are very important to us.

Again, the great majority of moles are normal and not a problem. They should simply be noted and periodically checked. Your doctor can work with you to assure the safety and wellbeing of moles, your skin in general, and the safety of your health. Remember that over-exposure to the sun seems to be the biggest cause of melanoma formation. Always use sun block. This is not a joke, but a serious matter with regards to your skin aging and decrease of skin cancer. This is very important for both men as well as women.

Because they are pigmented, melanocytes absorb more of the sun’s harmful UV radiation. Use sunscreens over SPF 15, wear protective hats, clothing, and avoid sunburn. This is especially important in young children. If a person has three severe sunburns in childhood, their chances of melanoma are greatly increased. When thinking of moles and melanoma, remember: Prevention is the ticket to a cure.
John Drew Laurusonis, MD
Doctors Medical Center

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Laurusonis was conferred his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1983 and has been actively taking care of patients since completing his Internal Medicine residency in 1987 in the Garden State of New Jersey. Dr. Laurusonis has been licensed in four states but ultimately chose to permanently relocate to Georgia with his family and begin a private practice. Through his extensive experience in Internal Medicine, as well as in Emergency Rooms throughout the United States, Dr. Laurusonis saw how traditional Emergency Rooms were often overwhelmed by patients suffering medical conditions that were urgent but may not need the traditional “Level I Trauma Center”. Patients often waited six to twelve hours to be seen by a physician, were riddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills, and were generally unhappy with the system.
Dr. Laurusonis decided to open an Urgent Care Center instead of a 9-5 doctor's office. Through the last fifteen years he has received accolades from the community and his patients. He has expanded his practice to include many cosmetic therapies that have previously been treated with painful and extensive plastic surgery. He has been invited to the White House numerous times, has been named Physician of the Year from GA, as seen in the Wall Street Journal, and has served as Honorary Co-Chairman on the Congressional Physicians Advisory Board
Dr. Laurusonis and his practice, Doctors Medical Center, is open 7 days a week from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm offering such services as lab, x-ray, EKGs, aesthetics (Botox, dermabrasion, sclerotheraby and veins etc.), cold/flu, sore throats, fractures, sprains, lacerations, GYN, Pediatrics, Phlebology Anxiety/Insomnia/Depression Treatment, skin tag/mole removal, veins, allergies, asthma, physicals--just to name a few. Dr. Laurusonis welcomes you to either make an appointment or just walk-in to see him. Dr. Laurusonis will take the time to speak with you about your concerns--no problem is too big or too small. If you need additional services we have specialist referrals available or we can refer you to the neighborhood hospital emergency room. Give Doctors Medical Center a call--Dr. Laurusonis will be happy to speak with you.

John Drew Laurusonis, MD
Doctors Medical Center
3455 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Suite 110
Duluth, GA 30096