DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently went to my dermatologist because I noticed a dark mole I hadn’t seen before. He did a biopsy, and it was called a “moderately dysplastic nevus.” He recommended removal, which was done right away. During the appointment he mentioned that I am now at greater risk for melanoma, even though I have no family history of melanoma and I do not have a great number of moles. I do get a yearly skin screening, as I am at risk to develop cancer due to my misspent youth basking in the sun despite my fair hair and skin. I have tried to find more information online, but it’s been challenging to find things I can understand. Can you shed more light on this topic? – T.M.H.
ANSWER: Sometimes, the name itself can tell you much about what you need to know. “Dysplasia” comes from the Greek roots literally meaning “bad growth.” A nevus is a mole, in medical-speak.