A mole (nevus) is a benign skin tumor that develops from melanocytes. Almost everyone has some moles. Nearly all moles (nevi) are harmless, but having some types can raise your risk of melanoma.
How can you tell if a mole is benign or malignant?
Distinguishing benign moles from melanoma
- Asymmetry: the sides of the mole or growth don’t match.
- Border: the edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
- Color: the color within the mole or growth varies.
- Diameter: the mole or growth is larger than 6 millimeters (size of a pencil eraser).
Can a mole turn into a tumor?
Yes, but a common mole rarely turns into melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. Although common moles are not cancerous, people who have more than 50 common moles have an increased chance of developing melanoma (1).
Can a mole grow and still be benign?
Moles can change over time and often respond to hormonal changes. Most moles are benign and no treatment is needed. Some benign moles may develop into skin cancer (melanoma).
Can moles be non cancerous?
Most moles are benign. The only moles that are of medical concern are those that look different than other existing moles or those that first appear after age 20.
What makes a mole suspicious?
A mole that does not have the same color throughout or that has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red is suspicious. Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. A mole of many shades or that has lightened or darkened should be checked by a doctor.
Is melanoma raised or flat?
Usually melanomas develop in or around an existing mole. Signs and symptoms of melanoma vary depending on the exact type and may include: A flat or slightly raised, discolored patch with irregular borders and possible areas of tan, brown, black, red, blue or white (superficial spreading melanoma)
What does early stage melanoma look like?
Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders. C is for Color. Multiple colors are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black.
What happens if you pick a mole off?
Removing moles by cutting them off with a sharp object like scissors or a razor blade carries risks, too. Cutting off any growth increases your risk of infection, especially if the tool you use isn’t properly sanitized. You can also create a permanent scar where the mole once was.
Why is my mole crusty?
Surrounding skin — The skin around a mole becomes red or develops colored blemishes or swelling. Surface — A mole’s surface changes from smooth to scaly, eroding and oozing. A crusty, ulcerated or bleeding mole is a sign of advanced disease.
Do moles get bigger with age?
Moles may change over time. They may get bigger, grow a hair, become more raised, get lighter in color, or fade away. Many people develop new moles until about age 40. Most of these are normal changes.
Is a new mole something to worry about?
Almost all moles are benign (noncancerous). But new moles in an adult are more likely to become cancerous than old moles. If a new mole appears when you’re older, or if a mole changes in appearance, you should see a dermatologist to make sure it’s not cancerous.
Why did my mole disappear?
A disappearing mole may begin as a flat spot, gradually become raised, then get light, pale, and eventually disappear. This natural evolution of moles rarely indicates cancer. However, when a mole does disappear suddenly, it may be due to melanoma or another type of skin cancer.
What does non cancerous moles look like?
While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colors red, white or blue may also appear. D is for Diameter and Dark.
Are Raised moles dangerous?
The vast majority of moles are not dangerous. Moles that are more likely to be cancer are those that look different than other existing moles or those that first appear after age 25. If you notice changes in a mole’s color, height, size, or shape, you should have a dermatologist (skin doctor) evaluate it.
How do I know if my mole is bad?
It’s important to get a new or existing mole checked out if it: changes shape or looks uneven. changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours. starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding.