Moles are benign (noncancerous) growths of the skin caused by the proliferation of melanocytes, which produce the dark protective pigment in the skin called melanin. Most moles appear in individuals during their 20s, though some may appear later in life and some may be present at birth.
What causes benign moles to grow?
The cause of moles isn’t well understood. It’s thought to be an interaction of genetic factors and sun damage in most cases. Moles usually emerge in childhood and adolescence, and change in size and color as you grow. New moles commonly appear at times when your hormone levels change, such as during pregnancy.
Can a benign mole get bigger?
Diameter. The nevus may get bigger; enlargement is especially concerning if its diameter becomes larger than the eraser of a pencil. Elevation/Evolution. The nevus may appear elevated, or raised from the skin, and may look inflamed, bleed or become crusty.
Can moles grow without being cancerous?
Even a large mole seldom becomes cancerous and almost never before the child reaches puberty. Having unusual moles. Moles that are bigger than a common mole and irregular in shape are known as atypical (dysplastic) nevi. They tend to be hereditary.
Can a growing mole be harmless?
Moles are usually harmless. They may contain hairs or become raised or wrinkled. Talk to your doctor about any change in the color or size of a mole or if itching, pain, bleeding or inflammation develops.
How do you get rid of benign skin growth?
Although these benign growths usually do not require treatment, if they bleed often or affect appearance they may be removed by electrosurgery/cautery, cryotherapy, laser, or shave excision.
Why am I getting moles all of a sudden?
Moles, or nevi, typically form during childhood and adolescence, but new moles can appear in adulthood. Although most moles are noncancerous, or benign, the development of a new mole or sudden changes to existing moles in an adult can be a sign of melanoma.
Why is my mole growing bigger?
Healthy moles do not change in size, shape or color. If you notice a mole is getting bigger, changing shapes or getting darker than normal, this could be a sign of a malignant mole.
Can benign moles hurt?
Moles, or melanocytic nevi, can sometimes be painful even if nothing is wrong. In some cases, a normal benign mole will have a pimple forming directly beneath it, which can get temporarily stuck. This can cause more pain and take longer to clear up than a normal pimple because it can’t easily travel to the surface.
Can benign moles be removed?
Removing non-cancerous moles can sometimes be done by your primary care doctor. When a mole is benign (non-cancerous), removing it is usually a minor office-based procedure that can be done in your doctor’s office in just a few minutes. There are several procedures doctors use to remove non-cancerous (benign) moles.
What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?
Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.
How do you stop moles from growing?
Sun avoidance and sun protection, including the regular use of sunscreen may help to suppress the appearance of some types of moles and freckles. Moles occur in all races (Caucasian, Asian, African, and Indian) and skin colors. Even animals have moles.
How long does a mole take to become cancerous?
Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun.
Can a doctor tell if a mole is cancerous just by looking at it?
A visual check of your skin only finds moles that may be cancer. It can’t tell you for sure that you have it. The only way to diagnose the condition is with a test called a biopsy.