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Dysplastic Nevi and Melanoma

Dysplastic nevi (DN) are atypical moles that may resemble melanoma, but are benign. They do, however, signify a higher risk for melanoma for patients that have them.

Any mole that changes in size, shape, color, or bleeds or itches should be evaluated. A biopsy is needed to confirm whether the mole is simply inflamed, dysplastic, or something more serious such as a melanoma.
Patients with a history of DN should perform regular self checks, practice sun protection, and have regular follow-ups with a dermatologist.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin caner, most commonly due to genetic mutations in skin cells caused by ultraviolet radiation (such as from the sun or tanning beds). Melanoma originates from melanocytes, or the pigment-producing cells in the skin. Lesions often resemble moles, and can develop from moles. Most lesions are black or brown but may be other colors such as red, pink, blue or white.

Melanoma is almost always curable if treated early, but if neglected, it can spread to other parts of the body and be fatal.

Warning signs for a growth that could represent a melanoma are summarized with the ABCDE rule. A—asymmetry B-irregular borders C—color, changes or more than one color D—diameter, larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser E—evolution, or a changing or growing lesion.

Prompt attention to any suspicious moles allows for early treatment and recognition.