Almost everyone has moles and freckles; and almost all of them are normal and remain so throughout life. But a mole or freckle that changes can be the first sign of skin cancer. So it’s important to conduct regular self-examinations to be on the lookout for changes in the shape, size, and color of your moles.
Moles or “nevi” are composed of groups of pigment producing cells called melanocytes. They are important to monitor because of their potential risk for turning into malignant melanoma.
- People with more moles have an increased risk of melanoma.
- Most Caucasian adults have about 20 nevi.
- Dysplastic moles, which are clinically and microscopically atypical appearing, are putative precursor lesions of melanoma.
- Dysplastic moles occur in 30 percent of patients with primary melanoma and in 6 percent of their family members.
People with a family history of dysplastic nevi or who have numerous atypical appearing moles themselves should be carefully monitored for melanoma.
It is important to watch for the warning signs of melanoma and the ABC’s of melanoma.
Most moles are symmetrical and round. But be on the lookout for those that change shape and become asymmetrical.
Most moles have even borders, but watch for those that are uneven and lumpy around the edges.
It is normal for a mole to be a solid brown color. But those that turn different shades of brown or black may be a sign of skin cancer.
Most moles are small – about six millimeters in diameter. If a mole becomes larger than the tip of an eraser, you should check with your dermatologist.
Evolving or Enlargement
If a mole starts changing – Size, Shape, Color – you should see your dermatologist to have it diagnosed.
Moles may be removed because they are clinically worrisome or simply for cosmetic purposes. No matter what the reason, we are happy to examine your moles and also to discuss mole removal options.
Contact Our Office
If you have further questions about this condition or our other general dermatology services, please contact our office. We will be happy to answer any questions you have or schedule a consultation for you.