If you have a high number of unusual moles on your body, chances are that you are concerned about your risk of developing skin cancer and melanoma. Unfortunately, these worries are not unfounded: people with a high number of dysplastic nevi, or unusual moles, may have dysplastic nevus syndrome, an inherited condition that often results in multiple cases of melanoma. However, even if you do not have the syndrome, a high number of atypical nevi means you have an increased risk of developing melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of cancer. This information likely raises a number of questions: how do I prevent melanoma with these conditions? Are there dysplastic nevus treatments I can receive at a dermatologist clinic? Do I need to invest in dysplastic nevus removal? Fortunately, dermatology and skin cancer specialists have conducted a significant amount of research on these conditions and their related risk of melanoma, and these questions are often easy to answer. Read on to learn how you can avoid developing melanoma and skin cancer below.
If you have a high number of unusual moles, the most important thing you can do is examine your skin for changes every month. Use both a full-length mirror and a handheld mirror in a well-lit room to carefully examine your skin for changes; ask a close friend or family member for assistance if necessary. Consider using a hairdryer to check your scalp. If you find any signs of skin cancer, see a dermatologist immediately, but even if you don’t, make sure to schedule a skin map examination at least once a year.
Dysplastic Nevus Removal
Even if you suspect you have dysplastic nevi or dysplastic nevus syndrome, the condition can only be diagnosed by your dermatologist. If your doctor does suspect that you have either problem, they will likely recommend that you undergo a dysplastic nevus removal to perform a biopsy on one of the atypical nevi. It will not be necessary to remove all of your moles. However, if a mole changes significantly, shows signs of melanoma, or appears after the age of 40, it will be a likely candidate. Once you have been diagnosed, you should research and document your family’s history of the disorder, have regular skin exams, reduce your sun exposure, and take other steps to prevent melanoma in yourself and your family members.
As frightening as it may seem, dysplastic nevi and dysplastic nevus syndrome will not necessarily result in life-threatening changes as long as you follow recommended steps for preventing skin cancer and melanoma. For this reason, there are no specific dysplastic nevus treatments, only healthy habits everyone should follow to prevent skin damage. These include avoiding sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm, preventing sunburn, choosing not to tan, blocking sunlight with clothes, hats and sunscreen, and more. Whenever possible, apply one ounce of water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every half hour if you plan to go outside. Most importantly, pass these habits on to your family members, especially young children: remember, dysplastic nevi are inherited, meaning your melanoma risk doesn’t end with you.