Moles are an abnormal group of pigment cells present in the skin. They are very common and people are either born with moles or sometimes develop them as they age. Moles can be removed by doctors who specialize in skin diseases or by other types of doctors.
The majority of moles is not a cause for concern but a small number develop into a condition called malignant melanoma. This is a form of cancer on the skin that can be fatal if untreated. Early detection and removal is important. Moles are sometimes removed for cosmetic purposes or if they are in a location that is bothersome.
Moles are generally harmless but should be checked by a doctor if you are concerned about skin cancer. The ABCDE method for self-identifying melanoma (skin cancer) is recommended by skincarephysicians.com: Asymmetry--not equal in all sizes, mis-shaped Border--edges are not well defined Color--mixed shades of tan, brown, black or traces of red, blue or white Diameter--greater than 6 millimeters across Evolving--looks different or changes Any suspicious mole should be removed and biopsied.
Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in diseases of the skin. They are highly trained to diagnose and treat melanoma and remove moles. However, skin biopsies and identifying and removing suspicious moles can be done by a family practitioner, cosmetic surgeon or any doctor who is trained in excision (cutting) removal techniques. Local medical centers and online sites like locateadoc.com can put you in touch with a doctor who has expertise in mole removal.
According to cosmeticsurgery.com, moles are commonly removed if they are protruding and get in the way of shaving, rub against clothing or jewelry. Some people remove moles to achieve smoother, clearer skin or enhance appearance and improve self-esteem. The most important benefit for mole removal however, is if a mole is suspected to be pre-cancerous, it often can be completely removed before it causes a serious health risk.
There is no truth to the old wives' tale that hairy moles or those on the bottom of your foot will turn cancerous. However, these types of moles should be evaluated if they meet the ABCDE criteria for identifying melanoma.