Atypical (Dysplastic) Nevi (Moles)

Atypical nevi are growths that begin as and resemble moles but develop some of the signs that we usually associate with cancerous growths. Atypical nevi may be irregular in shape or color and may look scaly or crusty. If you notice any growths with this type of appearance, or if a mole changes to one that resembles these characteristics, it is important to have it checked by your dermatologist immediately.

Actinic Keratoses (AKs)

Actinic Keratoses (or solar keratoses) are considered the earliest stage in the development of certain skin cancers. AKs are small, scaly spots most commonly found on the face, ears, neck, forearms, the scalp and backs of the hands in fair-skinned individuals who have had significant sun exposure. Some AKs may progress to advanced stages that require more extensive treatment. There are many effective treatments for AKs including medications, cryotherapy, laser or light therapy and chemical peels.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It occurs most frequently on the head and neck, but also on the trunk and lower limbs. BCC often appears as a fleshy bump, nodule, or red pearly patch. BCCs are frequently found in fair-skinned individuals. BCCs usually grow slowly, but this does not mean treatment should be delayed. While BCCs rarely metastasize (spread) to other organs, if untreated, they often will begin to repeatedly bleed and crust over, and can extend below the skin to the muscle, bone and nerves causing considerable local damage. There are several treatments available for BCC depending on the size, type, and location.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma is another common skin cancer that is most often caused by sun exposure. If detected early it is easily treatable with in office excision or other treatments. If left untreated, SCC can rarely spread to lymph nodes or other organs of the body. Other risk factors for SCC include extensive burns, repeated exposures to radiation or x-rays, certain viral infections, and alcohol or tobacco use.


Melanoma is a type of malignant skin tumor. Skin color making cells called melanocytes become cancerous, grow, and invade other tissues. This is one of the most severe forms of skin cancer and if left untreated will be fatal. People with a family history of melanoma may be at an increased risk. Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body and can present as a change in an existing mole or appearance of a new, unusual mole.

ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection:

  • Asymmetry. If you could fold the lesion in two, the two halves would not match.

  • Border. Melanomas often have uneven or blurred borders.

  • Color. Melanoma typically is not one solid color; rather it contains mixed shades of tan, brown, and black. It can also show traces of red, blue or white.

  • Diameter. While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller. If you notice a mole different from others, or which changes, itches, or bleeds even if it is smaller than 6 millimeters, you should see a dermatologist.

  • Evolving. Sudden elevation. Evolving or changing mole.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

This is a type of lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells) that shows itself in problems with the skin. It is a disease that is throughout the body, but shows up most in the skin and connective tissue. It is diagnosed by taking a sample of the growth or lesion that is on the skin.