When should warts and moles be evaluated by a dermatologist?


Quick Answer

According to the Academy of American Dermatologists, warts and moles should be evaluated by dermatologists if there is pain and rapid growth, but the severity of either condition is diagnosed and treated differently. Warts are non-cancerous and disappear eventually, while moles that are non-uniform, itch, bleed or burn could be cancerous.

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Full Answer

Anyone can develop warts and moles and there are a variety of treatments available through dermatologists. Warts are caused from a virus infecting the skin through cuts or scrapes and patients with low immune systems are more prone to them. Typically, dermatologists can easily detect warts, but in rare cases a biopsy may be conducted. Painful or persistent warts may be treated by cantharidin, which is blistering; cryotherapy, also known as freezing; electrosurgery, or burning; excision, which is cutting; laser treatments; chemical peels; or bleomycin, which is a shot.

While very common, people with fair and sun-sensitive skin are especially prone to moles. Moles can be dangerous if there is a family history of skin cancer or if skin has significant sun damage from sun burns or tanning beds. Dermatologists use the ABCDE method, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving, to initially determine if a mole is abnormal and potentially cancerous. If the mole appears to be abnormal, dermatologists remove portion of the mole and send it to a lab for testing. Moles can be removed by surgical procedures.

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