Things to Know About Moles

Moles, also known as nevi (the plural of nevus), are benign growths on the skin. They can vary in colors from brown to pink and have a smooth surface. They are common, and most adults in Chevy Chase will have between 10-40 moles on their bodies. A mole should not be confused with melanoma, a type of skin cancer. There are many things you can do yourself to check your skin for signs of skin cancer. If you would like any advice on checking your skin, please ask your pharmacist for further information or speak to your GP about Chevy Chase moles/nevi

Types of Moles/Nevi?

They are two main types of mole that is: 

  • Congenital Nevi (Moles Present at Birth) 

They appear in the first few weeks of life and vary in numbers. Congenital moles are not associated with an increased risk of developing melanoma. However, if you have 50 congenital moles, you will be at increased risk of developing other types of skin cancers.

  • Nevi That Have Grown and Changed Since Birth

Nevi can change in appearance. The two most common changes are ‘telangiectasia’ (dilated blood vessels) and ‘color variation.’ If you notice any changes to your moles, you should seek advice from a professional.

What Causes Moles?

Moles are caused by a genetic tendency to develop an excess of melanocytes in certain body areas. They usually appear during childhood or early adulthood but can also develop later in life. The good news is that most moles will not cause any problems and go away with time.

What Is the Treatment for Moles?

They remove Moles and lentigines safely by taking a small skin sample (a biopsy). If this tissue is nevus, then it requires no further treatment. The mole will be re-scanned at a later date. If it is melanoma, then it will require further treatment immediately. Mole removal can vary depending on how large or dark your mole may be. There are several methods of removing moles, such as:

  •      Scissor Excision 

A small amount of skin is removed using surgical scissors. 

  •     Electrodesiccation 

The mole is destroyed with heat or an electrical current. 

  •     Laser therapy

The mole is destroyed using a high-energy beam of light.

What Things Indicate You Have Skin Cancer?

If you have any of the following changes to your moles, seek advice from a professional. These are signs that may indicate cancer is in the area or that it could be developing elsewhere on the body:

  • The appearance of a new mole.
  • An existing mole that starts to itch, hurt, or bleed.
  • An existing mole that changes in appearance.
  • Asymmetry, irregular borders, or thickening of an existing mole.
  • A pink growth with a scaly top.

Do You Need to See a Doctor?

If you notice that your moles have changed in appearance, you should seek advice from a professional. It could be your GP or a skin specialist (known as a dermatologist). They will give you advice on whether any further action is required.

Although there is no way to prevent moles, there are several ways to treat them. Speak with your doctor and find out what your best options are. 

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