Dysplastic Nevi (Atypical Moles)
What Is Dysplastic Nevi?
The term “nevi” refers to a group of skin lesions that are characterized by irregularly shaped bumps or protrusions. These bumps may range from small and round to large and flat. Some of these moles have no external signs; however, others may show up with a variety of symptoms such as itching, redness, swelling and pain.
These skin abnormalities are called dysplastic nevi. They are also known as atypical or abnormal moles. Although not all atypical moles lead to cancer, it is very important to have them checked out by a doctor on a regular basis.
In medical sciences, a dysplastic nevus is defined as an irregularly shaped mole that has an abnormal appearance when compared to other common moles or skin tags.
If you have just one or two dysplastic nevi, there is no cause for alarm. There is a possibility that they are just an inherited trait and some people are just more prone to moles. There is not much your family doctor can do in such cases.
Dysplastic nevi are more than just a mole that you were “born with.” They can actually grow or change, even if you are just sitting around. These moles should not be ignored and you should have them checked out by a medical professional on a regular basis.
The good news is that medical science has made great strides in the detection and treatment of dysplastic nevi. Many dermatologists are trained to detect skin cancer early so that it can be successfully treated. If you have a family history of skin cancer or suffer from dysplastic nevi, it is a good idea to see a board-certified dermatologist on a regular basis.
Dysplastic nevi range from moderate to severe. The worst kind of dysplastic nevus is known as a dysplastic nevus with atypia. This type of dysplastic nevus is actually a precursor to skin cancer. A dysplastic nevus with atypia can be a risk factor for developing the deadly skin cancer known as melanoma.
A dysplastic nevus with atypia can be very difficult to treat and if left ignored, it may become life-threatening.
A dysplastic nevus with atypia is also known as a high-risk mole. There are no specific tests to determine if you have a dysplastic nevus with atypia. The only way to tell if you have one is by looking at it and having your physician, such as a dermatologist, analyze it.
Although some dysplastic nevi are hereditary, not all of them are. If you have a family history of severe skin cancer, it is a good idea to have your moles checked out by a doctor.
Dysplastic nevi are not limited to adults. Children can also have these skin growths, and they should be checked by a physician, such as a dermatologist, on a regular basis.
There are no definitive tests to find out if you have a dysplastic nevus. The only way to know for sure is by examining your skin. Even if you have several of these moles, they may not all be dysplastic. A dermatologist can best determine whether or not one or more of your moles are a problem.
Dermatologists can use a visual examination as well as several diagnostic tests to determine if you have a dysplastic nevus. One of the most common tests is a biopsy, where a piece of skin is removed so it can be analyzed under a microscope. Other tests include the Wood’s lamp evaluation. This is a type of ultraviolet light that is shined on different parts of your skin.
Any irregular moles will glow a different color than normal skin. Other tests use computer technology to measure the size and characteristics of your skin moles.
Although there is no sure way to detect skin cancer early, there are things you can do to decrease your risk of getting it. Some dermatologists recommend regular self-examination of your skin. This means that you periodically examine different parts of your skin, looking for anything that doesn’t look quite right.
If you find a mole or other growth on your skin, do not obsess over it. Some people end up finding something that is benign, even if they had undergone a full dermatological workup. If you find a mole that looks suspicious, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist. The doctor will conduct a full examination of the mole and determine whether or not it needs to be biopsied.
Most skin cancers, including dysplastic nevi, can be successfully treated if they are diagnosed and treated in the early stages. It is important that you have your dermatologist determine whether or not your moles are normal or possibly a dysplastic nevus. Only a dermatologist can make this diagnosis.
By examining your skin on a regular basis and seeing your doctor when necessary, you can prevent a dysplastic nevus from becoming a life-threatening melanoma.
Learn more about Melanoma.
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