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  • Dysplastic Nevus - what does it mean?

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    Old 01-13-2010, 01:41 PM   #1
    NJMom18's Avatar
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    Dysplastic Nevus - what does it mean?

    Had a squamous cell in situ a few months ago, and just convinced the derm to remove 3 irregular moles I've had all my life. One on my back came back as a dyplastic nevus, and they want to fully excise it. I guess the borders of it extended beyond the biopsy. It's looked the same forever, with no changes, and they check the pic of it every time I go. Have those dyplastic cells always been there? Or were changes coming and they just couldn't tell? Finding "bad" moles doesn't seem like a very exact process...

    Once I get this off will it be fine?

    Thanks for the advice.

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    Old 01-13-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
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    Re: Dysplastic Nevus - what does it mean?


    A dysplastic nevus is what is called an atypical mole. Simply put: these are usually benign, but may resemble melanoma. Almost 10% of Causasions have these types of moles (so you are not alone), and if you have one, you are at an increased risk for developing a melanoma. Note: This does NOT mean you WILL develop melanoma.

    Moles/skin cancer is such a weird thing. A mole can go along for years just sitting there, looking the same year after decade. Then, all of a sudden, and for no reason, it will suddenly begin to change in some way. It's almost as if your body is a canvas, and the painter isn't finished yet. This is when moles are serious and should be looked at (and it might still not signify melanoma, go figure). Other times, you might have a mole that has been atypical for some reason (size, shape, border) for most or all of your life, and for some reason, a doctor will have a "feeling" about it and want to remove it. Chances are, if the mole has been there a long time, and has not been changing, it's benign and you will be okay.

    As far as changes coming but they couldn't tell - I would find that highly unlikely. I'm a little confused by your doctor wanting to excise the area. If the biopsy doesn't reveal any melanoma, what's the point? Or does this mean the derm wants to re-do the biopsy? In melanoma-speak, an excision means to remove the surrounding tissue of a mole - something in the neighborhood of 6 centimeters. I have a 3" scar on my knee where my 1/8" diameter melanoma was located, just to give you an idea. So perhaps we are using different terms here.

    If the biopsy has returned clear (no cancer cells), then there should be no further treatment. You should do regular skin checks, though. If the biopsy returned with evidence of cancer cells, then you will need to have a wide excision - what I mentioned above - and, if clear margins are determined (no cancer cells in the surrounding tissue) you will be staged, depending on the depth of the skin cancer. HOWEVER, dysplastic nevus is NOT EQUAL to skin cancer, so I'm more than a little confused as to what your derm is looking to do.

    I'm not sure if this helps much...I hope it does!

    Old 01-19-2010, 03:24 PM   #3
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    Re: Dysplastic Nevus - what does it mean?

    I had a dysplastic nevi on my back. I read how it could turn into melanoma and was very scared. I had just had our 1st son and thought, "I'm going to die of skin cancer! That was almost 20yrs ago. I am fine and that baby boy will be 19 in Feb.

    On a side note, about 13 yrs ago my brother did develop melanoma (stage 3). Thankfully he is fine also. I do know that I am at increased risk though, now with my brother's hx. - And so have regular derm visits.

    As I understand it, displastic nevi need to be watched but may never turn into skin cancer.


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