Most people have moles on their body. Whilst moles are generally slightly raised and brown in colour, they can also be pink or flesh-coloured. The number of moles that an individual develops depends on genetics, how fair their skin is, and how much ultraviolet radiation they have been exposed to. The vast majority of moles are entirely harmless (benign).
However, occasionally a mole may become malignant in which case it is called a malignant melanoma. Fortunately malignant melanomas are relatively rare, and if treated early, the outlook is usually very good.
The ABCDE of changes to look out for in moles
The important features to be aware of are:
- Asymmetrical: Moles that have an asymmetrical appearance. If you draw a line through the mole, do the two halves match?
- Border: Uneven, scalloped, jagged or notched borders.
- Colour: A mole with more than one colour
- Diameter: The diameter of a mole is usually the size of pencil eraser, about 6mm.
- Evolution: Moles that evolve suddenly in size, shape, colour, crusting, itching or elevation.
Sometimes moles may be removed because they are a nuisance rather than harmful e.g. catching on clothes and bleeding. Mole removal is usually a very quick and straight forward procedure carried out with a local anaesthetic.
Sometimes people may want to have a mole removed because they consider it unsightly. If a mole is removed for cosmetic reasons, it is important to consider the risk of scarring and the acceptability of the end result.
This is particularly relevant if the mole is on the face. Do speak to Dr Reed about any concerns you may have during your Consultation.
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