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Mole with a dark center: Moles: What to Look for, When to Worry


Moles: What to Look for, When to Worry

  • Congenital moles. When a mole is present at birth, it is called a congenital mole, or congenital nevus. About 1 percent of people have congenital moles, and these moles may be at increased risk of turning into skin cancer.
  • Acquired moles. Acquired moles account for most moles and usually develop during childhood or early adulthood. These moles are usually smaller than a quarter inch, and are thought to be due to excessive sun exposure. Most acquired moles will not develop into skin cancer.
  • Atypical moles. Atypical moles (also known as dysplastic nevi) are larger than a pencil eraser and shaped irregularly. These moles are usually uneven in color, with a dark brown center. The borders of atypical moles may be irregular, with a lighter or reddish color, and unevenness or black dots around the edge. Atypical moles tend to run in families and they may be at increased risk of developing into skin cancer.

When to See Your Doctor About a Mole

It’s important to consult your doctor or a dermatologist about a suspicious skin mole since it may be an early sign of malignant melanoma, which is a life-threatening form of skin cancer.

Examine your skin regularly, looking for any new skin moles as well as changes in the moles you already have. If you have a family history of atypical moles or skin cancer, or a large number of moles or freckles, your primary doctor may suggest that you see a dermatologist for regular skin evaluations.

When you examine your moles, remember the ABCDEs of melanoma. If you notice any of the following, consult your doctor or dermatologist:

  • A for asymmetry: A mole in which one half of the mole does not look like the other
  • B for irregular border: A mole with a scalloped or poorly defined border
  • C for varied color: A mole that consists of multiple shades of black, brown, white, red, and/or blue
  • D for large diameter: A mole that has a diameter larger than that of a pencil eraser
  • E for evolving: A mole that’s size, shape, or color changes over time
  • New moles: A mole that develops, especially if it appears after age 20
  • Bothersome moles: A mole that bleeds, itches, or is painful

Removing a Skin Mole

Most moles are harmless and do not need to be removed. But if your dermatologist thinks your mole looks suspicious, or if you would like to have the mole removed for cosmetic reasons, it can usually be done quite easily.

To remove a mole, your dermatologist will numb the area around your mole, and then shave or cut it off. After removing the mole, your dermatologist may need to close the area with one or a few stitches. The tissue will be sent to a laboratory to confirm that it is not cancerous.

Most moles are harmless, but getting any suspicious ones checked out quickly will enable you to detect skin cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.

Moles | Marietta Dermatology

Everyone has moles, sometimes 40 or more.  Most people think of a mole as a dark brown spot, but moles have a wide range of appearances.

At one time, a mole in a certain spot on the cheek of a woman was considered fashionable.  These were called “beauty marks.”  Some were even painted on.  However, not all moles are beautiful. They can be raised from the skin and very noticeable, they may contain dark hairs, or they may be dangerous.

Moles can appear anywhere on the skin.  They are usually brown in color but can be skin colored and various sizes and shapes.  The brown color is caused by melanocytes, special cells that produce the pigment melanin.

Moles probably are determined before a person is born.  Most appear during the first 20 years of life, although some may not appear until later. Sun exposure increases the number of moles, and they may darken.  During the teen years and pregnancy, moles also get darker and larger and new ones may appear.

Each mole has its own growth pattern.  The typical life cycle of the common mole takes about 50 years.  At first, moles are flat and tan like a freckle, or they can be pink, brown, or black in color.  Over time, they usually enlarge and some develop hairs.  As the years pass, moles can change slowly, becoming more raised and lighter in color.  Some will not change at all.  Some moles will slowly disappear, seeming to fade away.  Others will become raised far from the skin.  They may develop a small “stalk” and eventually fall off or be rubbed off.

Recent studies have shown that certain types of moles have a higher-than-average risk of becoming cancerous.  They may develop into a form of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma.  Sunburns may increase the risk of melanoma.  People with more moles than average (greater than 100) are also at risk for melanoma.

Moles are present at birth in about 1 in 100 people.  They are called congenital nevi.  These moles may be more likely to develop a melanoma than moles which appear after birth,

Moles known as dysplastic nevi or atypical moles are larger than average (usually larger than a pencil eraser) and irregular in shape.  They tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and a lighter, sometimes reddish, uneven border or black dots at the edge.  These moles often run in families.

People with dysplastic nevi may have a greater chance of developing malignant melanoma and should be seen regularly by a dermatologist to check for any changes that might indicate skin cancer.  They should also learn to do regular self-examinations, looking for changes in the color, size or shape of their moles, or the appearance of new moles.  Sunscreen and protective clothing should be used to shield moles from sun exposure.

Recognizing the early warning signs of malignant melanoma is important. Remember the ABCD’s of melanoma when examining your moles.

A stands for ASYMMETRY; one half of the mole does not match the other half.

B stands for BORDER;the border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular,

C stands for COLOR; the color of the mole is not the same throughout or it has shades of tan, brown, black, red, white, or blue.

D stands for DIAMETER; while melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (about the size of a pencil eraser), they can be smaller.  They can also change, bleed, or itch.

If a mole displays any of these signs, it should be checked promptly by a dermatologist.  It is important to remember that not all moles look alike.  Moles may be skin colored or pink, light tan to brown, and even blue to black.  They may be round or oval,. or their shape maybe slightly irregular.  They may be· flat or raised, large or small, with .or without hairs, mottled or evenly colored. If the appearance of a mole worries you or if it changes suddenly in any way, you should consult a dermatologist,

There may be darkened spots on the skin that are not moles.  Freckles are the most common.  Unlike moles, they are rarely larger than the size of a pea, although sometimes they may seem to be large because they blend into one another.  Sun exposure may make freckles darker; freckles may fade completely in the winter.  While moles may appear anywhere on the skin, freckles are ordinarily limited to sun exposed areas such as the face, neck, and upper back.  Blondes and redheads freckle most easily.

After middle age, a person may acquire other dark areas that are not moles.  Brown, wart-like growths that appear on the face or trunk and look as if they have been stuck onto the skin may be harmless growths called seborrheic keratoses.

Multiple small gray-brown spots that may appear on wrists, backs of the hands, forearms, and face are actinic lentigines.  These are also called “liver spots;’ “age spots;’ or “sun spots,” although they have nothing to do with liver or age.  They are not cancers. Both actinic lentigines and seborrheic keratoses are easily diagnosed by a dermatologist.

The majority of moles and other blemishes are benign (non-cancerous).  They will never be a threat to the health of the person.  Spots or blemishes that warrant medical concern are those that do something out of the ordinary – those that act differently from other existing moles.  This includes any spot that changes in size, shape, color, bleeds, itches, becomes painful, or moles that appear when a person is past twenty.

If you notice a mole that does not follow the normal patterns, a dermatologist may be able to assure you that the mole is harmless, or confirm that it is cancerous.  He or she may remove the mole or part of it (biopsy) to study it under a microscope.

This is a simple and harmless procedure.  If the growth was only partially removed and it is found to be cancerous, then the entire lesion and an extra margin of safety will need to be removed.

A person may wish to get rid of moles that are irritating them, or simply because they are unattractive.  The most common methods of removal include numbing and shaving the mole off, or cutting out the entire lesion and stitching the area closed.

Most procedures used to remove moles take only a short time and can be performed in a dermatologist’s office. Sometimes a mole will recur after it is removed.  If a mole has been removed and begins to reappear, the patient should return to the dermatologist. 

Many people wonder if it is safe to shave over a mole.  Irritation will not cause a mole to become cancerous, but a person might want to have moles that are frequently shaved over removed because they are annoying.

Some moles with hairs are considered unattractive.  The hairs can be clipped close to the skin’s surface, or removed permanently with electrolysis or laser.  Moles can also be excised (cut out and stitched together) to remove the mole and the hair.

Moles may be made less noticeable if they are disguised with makeup.  Cosmetics specifically designed to cover blemishes provide more complete coverage than ordinary cosmetics.

Most moles cause no problems.  But occasionally a mole may be unattractive, annoying, or changing.  If you see any signs of change or want a mole removed for cosmetic reasons, consult a dermatologist.

“Benign Mole”, by SkinIO

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. The number of moles peak in individuals during their 30s and have a tendency to decrease in number thereafter. Factors that determine the number of moles include familial or genetic predisposition and sun and ultraviolet light exposure.Figure 01

A congenital nevus is a mole present at birth. Most of these moles are small, the size of a pencil eraser, dome-shaped, and may have some hair within [Figure 1]. Large congenital nevi, several inches across in an adult, have a higher tendency to develop into malignant melanoma.

Moles that appear after birth are called common acquired melanocytic nevi (moles).

There are three types of acquired moles:Figure 02Figure 03Figure 04

  1. The flat mole or junction nevus [Figure 2]
  2. The dome-shaped mole or compound nevus [Figure 3]
  3. The raised mole or intradermal nevus [Figure 4]

They vary in size from a pinhead to a pencil eraser. The brown color may vary in shade, but it is usually uniform within individual mole. Moles may darken with sun exposure. They may also get darker and larger during the teen years, during pregnancy, and while taking birth control pills. Each mole has its own growth pattern. At first, moles are flat, pink, brown, or black in color. Over many years, moles slowly change and become more raised. Some moles will gradually disappear. These changes occur slowly during a lifetime. The average number of moles in an adult between 30 and 40 years of age is approximately 10 to 40 on the entire skin surface.Figure 05

Some moles may be larger than average (larger than a pencil eraser) with irregular shape, and uneven color with darker brown centers and lighter, sometimes reddish, uneven borders. These moles are call dysplastic or atypical moles, which are often inherited [Figure 5]. Individuals with dysplastic moles have a greater risk of developing an aggressive type of skin cancer called malignant melanoma.

Why is it important to know about benign moles?

A benign mole can sometimes develop into skin cancer. Skin cancer arising from a benign mole is malignant melanoma, which is a very dangerous type of skin cancer that can be fatal if not treated early. The best way to survive malignant melanoma is to diagnose and treat it early. The best way to diagnose it early is to perform a weekly skin self-exam and to be suspicious about any new mole, changing mole, or mole that looks different or unusual from those in the surrounding area. If any mole looks suspicious, you should report it immediately to your dermatologist.

Malignant melanoma can arise from a benign mole, or a dysplatic mole, or from normal-appearing skin. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with all of your moles and to remember if a mole was there or not and what it looks like. Your weekly skin self-exam will help you familiarize and remember what your moles look like. If you see any new mole, changing mole, or a mole that looks different or unusual from those in the surrounding area, report it immediately to your dermatologist. Malignant melanoma can develop tomorrow or anytime in the future, so make sure you perform a weekly skin self-exam throughout your life.

Risk factors

Anyone can get malignant melanoma, but there are certain risk factors that make some individuals more susceptible to malignant melanoma than others. Risk factors increase your susceptibility to malignant melanoma; however, they do not mean you will develop malignant melanoma.

Risk factors for malignant melanoma include

  • Personal and family (genetic) history
    • Fair skin with red hair and blue eyes
    • Male over 50 years old
    • Increased number of moles: having more than 50 moles increases the risk of malignant melanoma
    • Having atypical or dysplastic moles
    • Personal history of malignant melanoma
    • Family history of malignant melanoma, such as a parent, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle
  • Environmental exposure
    • Excessive long-term sun and ultraviolet light exposure
      • Fair skin and having grown up in a southern region
      • Frequent exposure to outside work or recreation
      • History of multiple sunburns
      • Freckles
      • Use of an indoor tanning lamp or bed
    • Medical condition that suppresses the immune system, such as AIDS or medications that organ transplant recipients take to suppress their immune system

How is malignant melanoma diagnosed?

Inspection of your skin by your dermatologist can confirm whether or not a mole is suspicious for malignant melanoma. Normal moles are easily diagnosed by your dermatologist with just a simple inspection of your skin. If your dermatologist determines that a mole is suspicious for malignant melanoma then a biopsy will be performed. This is a simple procedure performed in the office under local anesthesia. Your mole will then be sent to a pathology lab where thin sections from the mole will be examined under a microscope by a dermatopathologist (a dermatologist or a pathologist trained in the microscopic examination of skin lesions). In the event your biopsy confirms malignant melanoma, your dermatologist will discuss treatment options.

Inspection of your skin at home with a weekly skin self-exam can help you identify a suspicious mole and help your dermatologist diagnose malignant melanoma early. [Table 1]

When inspecting your skin for any moles, growths, or spots, look for these signs.

  • Bleeding, itching, or scaling
  • Change in symmetry, border, color, size, shape, or thickness
Different and/or unusual

Table 01

Be suspicious of any new mole, changing mole, or mole that looks different or unusual from those in the surrounding area. If any mole is suspicious, you should immediately report it to your dermatologist as some aggressive types of malignant melanoma can spread inside your body within a few months.

When inspecting a single mole, only if you know it is a mole, it is helpful to apply the ABCDE rules to determine whether or not it is suspicious. [Table 2]Table 02

Asymmetry: malignant melanoma has one half not matching the other half in size, shape, color, or thickness
Border irregularity: malignant melanoma has irregular edges that are notched, ragged, or scalloped
Color: malignant melanoma has a variety of colors within the same lesion, including shades of dark black and dark brown mixed with lighter tones; sometimes it may be red, pink, white, or skin colored
Diameter: malignant melanoma is larger than some surrounding moles, often greater than 6 millimeters or the size of a pencil eraser; however, malignant melanoma is less than 6 millimeters when it first appears
Evolving: malignant melanoma continues to grow and change, while other benign moles remain the same

Treatment options

The majority of moles are benign. Occasionally, a mole may become irritated by shaving or by clothes rubbing. Irritation such as shaving will not cause a mole to become malignant melanoma; however, if a mole is bleeding and you are not sure why then you should check with your dermatologist. An individual may want to have a mole removed that is frequently irritated or unattractive. Procedures to remove moles are short office visits that can be performed under local anesthesia in your dermatologist’s office. Your dermatologist will discuss the most appropriate treatment for you. Sometimes a mole will reappear after it is removed. A mole that reappears after it is removed should be carefully re-examined by your dermatologist. When a benign mole is removed, it should also be sent for microscopic examination to ensure that it is not malignant melanoma.

Follow-up care

Patients diagnosed with multiple moles should be examined by their dermatologist at least once a year. Remember, individuals with multiple moles (more than 50) are more likely to develop malignant melanoma. Your dermatologist will inspect your skin for any new moles and will ensure that any previously treated moles are not growing back.

Patients with multiple moles should also perform a weekly skin self-exam. Learning what malignant melanoma looks like may help you identify a suspicious mole earlier.

If you cannot see some part of your body, ask your partner or a family member to assist you with your weekly skin self-exam.

What Is It & Types


What is a skin mole? What does one look like?

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Skin moles (a “nevus” or “nevi” are the medical terms) are growths on your skin that range in color from your natural skin tone to brown or black. Moles can appear anywhere on your skin or mucous membranes, alone or in groups.

Most skin moles appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of life. It is normal for a person to have between 10 to 40 moles by adulthood.

The life cycle of an average mole is about 50 years. As the years pass, moles usually change slowly, becoming raised and lighter in color. Often, hairs develop on the mole. Some moles will not change at all and some will slowly disappear over time.

What are the types of skin moles?

  • Common Nevi: This is a normal mole, a small growth on your skin that’s pink, tan, or brown and has a distinct edge.
  • Congenital Nevi: These are moles discovered on your skin when you were born. Congenital nevi occur in about one in 100 people. These moles may be more likely to develop into melanoma than moles that appear after birth. If your skin mole is more than eight millimeters in diameter, it has a greater risk of becoming cancerous.
  • Dysplastic Nevi: These moles are larger than a pencil eraser and irregularly shaped. Dysplastic nevi tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. These moles tend to be hereditary (inherited), and people who have them may have more than 100 moles. If you have dysplastic nevi then you have a greater chance of developing malignant (cancerous) melanoma. Any changes in a mole should be checked for skin cancer by a dermatologist.

How common are moles?

Moles are very common. Most people have about 10 to 40 of them.

Where do moles most commonly occur?

Most moles grow on parts of your body that get sunlight (ultraviolet radiation). You might see that you get more moles the longer you’re in the sun.

Are moles contagious?

No, moles are not contagious.

Do moles hurt?

If your skin moles are tender or painful, you need to see a dermatologist.

Do moles itch?

If your skin moles itch, you need to see a dermatologist.

Is it normal for moles to bleed?

You need to see a dermatologist if your moles bleed.

Are pigmented lesions the same as moles?

A “pigmented lesion” is a general term that includes normal moles, sun freckles or age spots (lentigines). While most pigmented lesions will not become cancerous, if you have many lesions or unusual lesions you should see a dermatologist on a regular basis for a full skin examination. Regular monitoring allows the dermatologist to identify changes in lesions that look “suspicious.” A change may prompt a skin biopsy (removing a sample of the mole for detailed examination under a microscope), which can help determine whether a lesion is non-cancerous (benign), melanoma or another type of skin cancer.

What does it mean if I have a new mole after age 30?

Always be cautious if you’re over age 30 and you find a new mole. It’s likely harmless, but you should still see your healthcare provider.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes skin moles?

Moles occur when cells in your skin grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin. Most moles are made of cells called melanocytes, which make the pigment that gives your skin its natural color.

What are the risk factors for skin moles?

Excessive sunlight.

What makes skin moles darker?

Moles may get darker after sun exposure, during pregnancy and during puberty. During pregnancy, moles often change evenly due to hormonal effects. For example, they may darken or become larger. However, if a mole changes in an irregular or uneven manner, have it evaluated by a dermatologist.

Diagnosis and Tests

What should I look for when examining my skin moles?

Most skin moles are benign (non-cancerous). The moles that are of medical concern are those that look different than other existing moles on your body (referred to as the “ugly duckling sign”) or those that appear on your skin after age 30. If you notice changes in any mole’s color, thickness, size, or shape, you should see a dermatologist. You also should have your moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, scale, or become tender or painful.

Examine your skin with a mirror or ask someone to help you. Pay special attention to areas of your skin that are often exposed to the sun, such as your face, hands, legs (especially in females), arms, chest and back (especially in men).

The ABCDEs are important signs of moles that could be cancerous. If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately by a dermatologist:

  • Asymmetry: If one half of your skin mole does not match the other half.
  • Border: If the border or edges of your mole are ragged, blurred or irregular.
  • Color: If the color of your mole is not the same throughout, or it has shades of multiple colors such as tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
  • Diameter: If the diameter of your mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
  • Elevation/Evolution: If your mole becomes raised after being flat, or it changes over a short period of time.

The most common location for melanoma in men is the back; in women, it is the lower leg. Melanoma is the most common cancer in women ages 25 to 29.

How does a dermatologist determine if moles are a concern?

Normal (benign) skin moles do not need to be removed (doing so will leave a scar).

If your dermatologist determines that the mole is a concern, he or she will perform a skin biopsy, in which a small sample of the mole is taken to examine under a microscope. A diagnosis can usually be made in less than a week. If the mole is found to be cancerous, it needs to be completely removed.

If you are concerned that a mole is changing or if you see worrisome signs, please contact your dermatologist to have the mole examined.

Management and Treatment

Who will treat/manage my moles?

Your usual healthcare provider might refer you to a dermatologist, a healthcare provider who specializes in skin.

Should skin moles be removed?

A normal skin mole does not need to be removed. If you choose to have it removed, you’ll likely be left with a scar.

How are skin moles removed?

Don’t try to remove a mole by yourself, even if you’re using some sort of over-the-counter product that burns, freezes, or uses lasers to remove skin growths like skin tags, moles and freckles. Not only could you get an infection, but you could unknowingly remove melanoma (skin cancer). Skin cancer can spread to other organs if it’s not caught early, and one way to catch it is to identify an abnormal mole.

What are the at-home treatments for moles?

Healthcare providers recommend that you do not use any at-home treatments on your moles. If you have a concern, talk to a dermatologist.


Can moles be prevented?

Moles are natural skin growths that can’t be prevented. However, you can be proactive about preventing skin cancer (or catching it early) by:

  • Limiting how much sunlight you get.
  • Wearing sunscreen every day.
  • Examining your moles at least once a month, looking for irregularities.

Being proactive about preventing skin cancer is important for your health. This is especially true if:

  • You have fair skin.
  • You have many moles on your body.
  • Your immediate family members have many moles, atypical moles, or a history of skin cancer.

In addition to limiting your exposure to sunlight and using sunscreen every day, examining your moles increases the chances of early detection and treatment of melanoma and other types of skin cancers.

Dermatologists recommend that you examine your skin every month. Most moles are benign (non-cancerous). If you notice changes in a mole’s color or appearance, have your mole evaluated by a dermatologist. You also should have moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, appear scaly, or become tender or painful.

How should I examine my skin for moles?

  • Perform skin self-examinations every month. It is best if you examine your skin after a bath or shower, while your skin is still wet.
  • Use a full-length mirror (if you have one), as well as a hand mirror, for a closer view. Ask a family member, if available, for help for the more difficult sites, such as your back.
  • Try to examine yourself the same way every month to avoid missing any areas. Start at your head and work your way down. Look at all the areas of your body (including the front, backs and sides of each area, and your fingernails and toenails). Also be sure to check the “hidden” areas: between your fingers and toes, your groin, the soles of your feet and the backs of your knees.
  • Don’t forget to thoroughly check your scalp and neck for moles.
  • Keep track of all the moles on your body and what they look like. Take a photo with a ruler in it and date it. That way, you’ll notice if the moles change. If they do change in any way (in color, shape, size, border, etc.), or if you develop a sore that does not heal, you should see a dermatologist. Also have your dermatologist examine any new moles that you think are suspicious.

You should always be suspicious of a new mole that develops after the age of 30. Many of the growths that appear after age 30 are harmless age-associated growths rather than moles; however, if you do notice a new growth, you should see your dermatologist. He or she will examine the growth and perform a skin biopsy, if indicated.

Moles can develop in any cutaneous (skin) or mucosal (mouth, eyes, genitals) surfaces. If you have had melanoma (or have a strong family history of melanoma), in addition to routine exams by a dermatologist, you should have annual check-ups with a dentist, ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and a gynecologist to look for moles in these special locations.

Outlook / Prognosis

What are the complications of moles?

The most significant complication is that some moles can turn into melanoma.

How long will I have skin moles?

Moles can last up to 50 years.

Can skin moles go away on their own?

Yes. 50 years is about the maximum time for a mole.

Living With

How do I take care of my skin moles?

You don’t need to treat your moles any differently than the rest of your skin, except for examining them at least once a month.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Most people get moles. They’re common, normal. Moles are almost always harmless. Just keep an eye out for any irregularity by checking or having someone you trust check for you once a month. Remember, if a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately:

  • Asymmetry: If one half of your skin mole does not match the other half.
  • Border: If the border or edges of your mole are ragged, blurred or irregular.
  • Color: If the color of your mole is not the same throughout, or it has shades of multiple colors such as tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
  • Diameter: If the diameter of your mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
  • Elevation/Evolution: If your mole becomes raised after being flat, or it changes over time.

Don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have concerns!

Moles: When Should I Worry?

by Dr. Curtis Chastain

I was recently diagnosed with a “pre-melanoma” on my leg.

It all started when I noticed a mole on my left leg had changed. My colleague removed a part of the mole and sent it off for tests. The results indicated that my mole was “melanoma in situ,” which means the malignant tumor was still confined to the upper layers of the skin and had not spread. A second excision was performed to remove the mole entirely, and there’s no reason to believe that I won’t be fine.

Had I not noticed the change in the mole, it may have become a malignant melanoma, and my situation could have been dramatically different.

Malignant melanoma, which starts out as a mole, is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, killing almost 10,000 people each year. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can be almost any color; skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanomas are caused mainly by intense UV exposure.

If malignant melanoma is recognized and treated early, like in my case, it is almost always curable. However, if it has time to spread to other parts of the body, it becomes very difficult to treat and can lead to death.

Identifying Malignant Melanoma

The ABCDE Criteria can help you identify moles that could be malignant melanoma. Being aware of these criteria may very well save your life.

A = Asymmetrical
If you look at a benign, or harmless, mole, it is usually symmetrical. On the other hand, a worrisome mole is asymmetrical, meaning if you cut in half, the two sides do not look the same.

B = Border
Benign moles typically have a regular, round border. Cancerous moles tend to have irregular borders. If the border isn’t smooth, you should get your mole checked out.

C = Color
Benign moles are usually one uniform color throughout. They can be brown, or black or pink, as long as they are one single color. Cancerous or pre-cancerous moles are multicolored. If the mole has more than one color, get it looked at.

D = Diameter
Imagine a pencil eraser. Moles smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser are less likely to be cancer. If a mole is bigger than a pencil eraser, it is not necessarily cancerous, but it should be evaluated.

E = Evolving
The ABCD above is very important. However, if any mole on your skin shows signs of change, that can indicate a problem. A change in size or color for example might be the only sign that it is cancerous.

Please take the time during your next check up to have a total body skin exam. If your primary care physician does not feel comfortable evaluating your skin, request a referral to a dermatologist who can check your skin for abnormal moles.

About Dr. Chastain

Curtis C. Chastain, MD, FACP, is an internal medicine physician focused on the primary care of men. He is a thought leader and frequently requested expert on men’s health, bringing his personal insights and 25 years of practice experience to this topic. Dr. Chastain is the founder and medical director of the Men’s Health Center at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. To learn more about becoming a member of the Men’s Health Center, call 225-765-4400.

Common Moles, Dysplastic Nevi, and Risk of Melanoma

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  • Titus-Ernstoff L, Ding J, Perry AE, et al. Factors associated with atypical moles in New Hampshire, USA. Acta Dermato Venereologica 2007; 87(1):43–48.

    [PubMed Abstract]

  • Goldstein AM, Tucker MA. Dysplastic nevi and melanoma. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2013; 22(4):528–532.

    [PubMed Abstract]

  • Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, et al. (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2015/, based on November 2017 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER website, April 2018.

  • Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2018. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 2018; 68(1):7–30.

    [PubMed Abstract]

  • Moles | Sparrow

    The following measures can help limit the development of moles and the main complication of moles — melanoma.

    Watch for changes

    Become familiar with the location and pattern of your moles. Regularly examine your skin to look for changes that may signal melanoma. Do self-exams once a month, especially if you have a family history of melanoma. With the help of mirrors, do a head-to-toe check, including your scalp, palms and fingernails, armpits, chest, legs, and your feet, including the soles and the spaces between the toes. Also check your genital area and between your buttocks.

    Talk with your doctor about your risk factors for melanoma and whether you need a professional skin exam on a routine basis.

    Protect your skin

    Take measures to protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as from the sun or tanning beds. UV radiation has been linked to increased melanoma risk. And children who haven’t been protected from sun exposure tend to develop more moles.

    • Avoid peak sun times. For many people in North America, the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even on cloudy days or in winter.
    • Use sunscreen year-round. Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply it generously and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
    • Cover up. Sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats, long sleeves and other protective clothing can help you avoid damaging UV rays. You might also want to consider clothing that’s made with fabric specially treated to block UV radiation.
    • Avoid tanning lamps and beds. Tanning lamps and beds emit UV rays and can increase your risk of skin cancer.

    How to recognize dangerous moles in time

    What skin neoplasms in most cases turn into a malignant tumor, why does it happen and how to save your life.

    Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer. Under different guises, she is born from a nevus (birthmark, birthmark). In the process of development, the tumor rapidly grows through the skin, then, lymph and blood is transferred to other organs. There, new foci of it appear.The result is death. None of the patients with late-onset melanoma passed the five-year survival milestone. Elena Ivannikova, the head physician of the Nadzha clinic, talks about how to use the life-giving rays of the sun correctly.

    – Elena Nikolaevna, everyone knows that the sun is the basis of life, it gives us strength. Warm days have come and the northerners, starving for the revitalizing rays of the sun, are taking sun baths. Tell me, maybe talk about the insecurity of spending time on the beach is greatly exaggerated?

    – Of course, in moderate doses, sunlight gives us not only joy and good mood, but also health.It is also a good prophylactic and therapeutic agent for rickets, stimulates the production of vitamin D, strengthens the immune system, and is beneficial for certain chronic skin diseases. Ultraviolet light for 10-15 minutes a day is useful.

    However, the health hazard lies in excessive sun exposure. And thermal burns, heatstroke, high blood pressure and photoaging are not the biggest problem.

    According to the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Oncology.P. A. Herzen, in the XXI century the incidence of melanoma in Russia has increased and continues to grow. The incidence of melanoma ranks 3rd among all cancer incidence in Russia. On the first and second lines, lung cancer and breast cancer in women. Meanwhile, this type of skin cancer is often the reverse side of a beautiful tan.

    Nowadays, many people know that skin cancer can grow from a special mole. How to distinguish such a dangerous mole?

    – There are no people without moles.If the mole suddenly changes shape, becomes asymmetrical, with uneven edges, motley or blackened, show it to the doctor. If she begins to ache, itch, or bleed, this is also a cause for concern. During life, nevi, during life, change. If a nevus appeared in childhood and it has not changed at the age of 30-40, it should be shown to the doctor.

    A harmless spot is distinguished from melanoma by five signs, which are encrypted in the word “AKORD”:

    • A – asymmetry.With an imaginary axis, the safe mole will be divided into two identical parts.
    • K – edge, normally smooth and even.
    • O – coloring. There should be no diversity.
    • P is the size. If the mole is larger than 5 mm, observe carefully. The danger is increased if it is located in an open area of ​​the body.
    • D – dynamics. If wounds appear, increase in size or other changes, consult a doctor.

    The presence of hair in a mole rather speaks of good quality, but if hair loss is suddenly noted, you should rush to a dermatologist – oncologist.

    In men, “bad” nevi are more often localized on the back. In women – on the legs. Moles located on the palms, feet and in places of rubbing with shoes and clothes are dangerous.

    – What is the most common cause of a mole turning into cancer? And who is at risk of getting sick more?

    – Pigmented lesions can become cancer after trauma or sunburn irradiation.The presence of such a terrible diagnosis in relatives increases the danger.

    Moles turn into a tumor, under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, in those who have:

    • light skin (weak adaptation)
    • light eyes
    • blonde and red hair
    • many moles (over 50) and freckles
    • elderly age.

    The risk of developing melanoma in adulthood is increased in those who burned out under the sun as a child or more than three times during their lives.

    – How to stop melanoma?

    – Everyone should be oncological vigilance towards themselves.

    Protect exposed skin from the sun. Examine moles once every 3 – 6 months using mirrors and a camera, memorize their appearance. If you find suspicious moles, urgently contact a dermatologist to examine the formation by dermatoscopy.

    A dermatoscope is an optical device that magnifies an image tenfold.The doctor examines the mole with this optics and assesses the degree of danger. And in its conclusion, it gives recommendations for treatment or removal. The study is non-traumatic. Safely. It is carried out within 10-15 minutes. Timely dermatoscopic examination of moles and detection of melanoma at an early stage in most cases help to prevent further development of the tumor and save human life.

    Doctors do not recommend sunbathing from noon to 4 pm.But the northern sun is not as active as the southern one. Perhaps you will give more specific recommendations for our readers?

    – Our fellow citizens joke that June in our city is not summer yet, August is not summer anymore, but July – how lucky. Indeed, sunny days in our region do not happen as often as we would like, but there are no indulgences for us. Exposure to the sun during its peak hours should be avoided.

    – Elena Nikolaevna, I know that you have worked as a dermatologist for many years.Your spouse is also a doctor. Does your family like to sunbathe? Tell us, probably, you do not allow your children to sunbathe and avoid a beach holiday?

    – Not at all. After all, we are ordinary people. Sometimes, like everyone else, we rest in the south. But we never forget about protection. While in the sun, we put on hats with wide brims or “visors”, sunglasses, light, light-colored clothing made from natural materials. We do not visit the beach from 11.00 to 16.00.And if it happens to spend time on the beach, then we apply protective agents to the exposed areas of the skin. And children from childhood know the rules of caring for their health. Therefore, they are rather surprised why so many people neglect the simple rules of being on the beach.

    – What should be the signal in order to understand that it is worth hiding in the shadows?

    – Any changes in your usual well-being are a reason to stop sun exposure and seek medical attention.

    – Pharmacy counters, like TV ads, are full of a large number of skin protection products from UFOs. How to choose the right product for your skin?

    – It is better to use those sunscreens that contain both UVA and UVB filters. In the early days, it is necessary to select a filter that will maximally protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun (SPF 90+, 60+, 50+). Next, choose a sun protection factor that matches your skin type (SPF 30 +, 15 +).

    Remember to apply the product 30 minutes before sun exposure and additionally during prolonged sun exposure, as well as after bathing and drying.

    The SPF number does not show the quality of protection, but the time that you can stay in the sun without getting burnt.

    I would like to add that a reasonable attitude to the sun preserves not only health, but also youthfulness of the skin. After all, skin aging in 80% of cases is premature aging (photoaging). Intense tanning is harmful to the skin, leads to dehydration,

    coarsening, loss of elasticity and the appearance of stains, which are not easy to get rid of later.

    Basic rules for the prevention of skin cancer:

    • don’t be tanners
    • always protect your skin from active sun
    • don’t hurt moles
    • visit a dermatologist-oncologist once a year
    • Examine and remove suspicious skin lesions as recommended by your doctor.

    Healthy skin is a sign of beauty, be careful with it and monitor its condition!

    Birthmarks | The Meaning of Moles | Clinic Prof. J. Kisisa

    It is important to distinguish between different types of moles in the context of skin cancer or melanoma. Despite the fact that more than half of malignant tumors develop on the skin without visual signs, melanoma can develop in an already existing mole. Moles can be checked by a dermatologist – visiting an oncology center is not the only solution.

    The meaning of moles

    The color of moles matters. It is determined by different processes, but when the color changes, it is recommended to check the mole with a dermatologist or oncologist.

    If birthmarks begin to change their appearance (shape and / or color), they should be immediately checked with a dermatologist, since only an experienced specialist can determine the nature of these changes.

    Arachnoid moles

    Also called spider moles, they form at a specific point in the skin as a result of the expansion of blood vessels.It usually occurs in people with liver disease who have high levels of certain hormones in their blood.

    Vascular moles

    Benign skin formations (hemangiomas), which are formed as a result of the multiplication of cells of the inner surface of blood vessels (endothelial cells). If congenital vascular moles are located in the face or head area, there is an increased risk of developing tumors in the blood vessels of the central nervous system, therefore, an in-depth study is required.

    Location of moles

    Location of moles – on the face, palms, ears, fingers, body, etc. – does not matter, but indirectly affects the choice of treatment tactics if the mole is malignant, or there is a desire to remove the mole for aesthetic reasons.

    Increasing moles

    An abrupt and disproportionate growth of a mole, changes in appearance, ulceration, or edema may indicate dangerous symptoms of skin cancer.more about skin cancer). Timely detection of a malignant tumor during a consultation with a dermatologist can save lives!

    Congenital moles

    Sometimes congenital moles are less noticeable in the first months of life, but they grow in proportion with the body, and over time they can become convex and uneven, and also change color.

    Sizes of congenital moles:

    • Small:
    • Medium: 1.5 – 20 cm
    • Large: 20 – 40 cm (newborns 9 cm on the head and 6 cm on the body)
    • Giant:> 40 cm

    New moles

    New or acquired moles occur in young people (under 25) and children.Sometimes active sunburn or sunburn can contribute to the appearance of age spots, but it should be remembered that sun-damaged skin tends to develop skin tumors.

    Acquired moles differ in appearance – this largely depends on the location of the accumulations of melanocytes on the skin.

    Relationship of moles with immunity

    Cells of the immune system fight not only against viruses and bacteria that are foreign to our body, but also against altered body cells, including cancer cells.In the case of halo nevi, cells of the immune system can be observed to destroy the pigment cells, creating a pale ring around the mole. People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of developing malignant diseases, including cancer.

    Atypical moles

    Atypical moles have similar features to melanoma:

    • asymmetry,
    • assorted colors,
    • uneven borders,
    • diameter> 6 mm.

    Some atypical moles can develop into melanoma.Only an experienced dermatologist or oncologist can distinguish atypical moles from melanoma. Sometimes a person may have a lot of atypical moles, which complicates the timely diagnosis of melanoma.

    Individuals with 100 or more moles or atypical moles are at increased risk of developing melanoma. Such people need to regularly check their moles on their own, including sequential photographic documentation of moles and checking with a dermatologist.

    Dangerous moles

    Factors indicating an increased risk of developing moles:

    • A large number of moles in family members.
    • Increased solar exposure in childhood. Especially if it is intense and intermittent, for example, a child from Latvia has sunburned strongly with his parents at a resort in a southern country.
    • Light skin.

    Most acquired moles are benign lesions that will never turn into melanoma and do not require medical intervention.

    Malignant tumor melanoma is formed from altered melanocytes, which grow and multiply uncontrollably.Despite the fact that more than half of melanomas develop on the skin without visual signs, melanoma can develop in an existing mole.

    Suspicious moles

    Suspicious moles have features in common with a malignant skin tumor. Such signs are visible with the naked eye, through a dermatoscope or microscope. Only an experienced dermatologist can distinguish dangerous moles from simple ones.

    If the mole hurts or itches

    Occasionally, regular trauma to a mole from clothing (especially a bra) or jewelry (such as a chain) can irritate the mole, resulting in pain or itching.In any case, it is recommended to carry out a check, since Rapidly growing skin cancers can cause pain and / or itching.

    If it happened that the mole was accidentally ripped off, it is advisable to contact a dermatologist to assess the nature of the mole (malignant or benign). The remaining fibers of the mole can develop into a malignant tumor, therefore, partially plucked moles should also be checked and their growth and development evaluated.

    It is important to remember that trauma to moles contributes to the development of malignant processes!

    Moles with hairs

    Moles may show increased hair growth.Epilation or shaving of hair on moles is not recommended. this will injure the mole, but the hairs can be carefully trimmed with scissors.

    Moles on legs

    Most often, moles on the legs are papillomas. They can be of different origins, so it is advisable to check with a dermatologist to find out their nature.

    Benign pigmented cell formations

    Along with moles, benign pigmented cell formations are distinguished:

    90,000 Attention, mole! Don’t miss her being reborn as cancer

    Every Tuesday AiF Health explains what signs may indicate that it is time for you to see a doctor.This week we will tell you why moles are dangerous, how to notice the first signs of a birthmark degeneration into a malignant skin tumor and which specialist to turn to for help.

    Many do not pay attention to such a “rebirth” and think that their body is still just a harmless speck. Meanwhile, early diagnosis helps to overcome the disease.

    Is it time to sound the alarm?

    Moles, or, in scientific terms, nevi, are found on the body of every person.It is believed that most of them, up to 90%, appear by the age of 25. But they can also arise later – under the influence of various events. For example, it is typical for them to literally spill out during pregnancy. Sometimes, on the other hand, moles disappear over time. They can be yellow, brown, black. This is all within the normal range, and there is nothing to worry about.

    But it happens that a mole begins to grow unevenly or changes color, its surface becomes “polished” or it starts to bleed – that is, changes occur in it.Another option is the appearance of a new mole of an unusual appearance. It is such incomprehensible neoplasms that require close attention.

    When the sun is the enemy

    Probably everyone already knows that chocolate tan has little to do with health. Ultraviolet light causes DNA damage and is the main cause of skin cancers. The more time a person spends exposing the body to the rays, the higher the likelihood of unpleasant consequences. The activity of the sun is also important.It is no coincidence that dermatologists strongly advise not to be on the beach between 11 am and 4 pm, when it is most aggressive.

    By the way, many scientists associate the risk of developing melanoma with the fact that in childhood and adolescence a person often received sunburn. They cause changes in melanocytes, pigment cells of the skin, which eventually lead to malignant conditions. This also explains the fact that in almost 50% of cases, melanoma develops on the legs – they are always open in children in summer and are most exposed to solar radiation.

    Recently, more and more people are talking about the danger of an “artificial sun” – a solarium. According to some reports, one session here (which is usually 5-10 minutes) equals a whole day on the beach! Some European countries (Germany, France and Austria) and the state of California (USA) have even banned the use of tanning beds for children under 18 years of age.

    Of course, the sun is a source of vitamin D and a remedy for depression, but in large quantities it is a real enemy. Otherwise, the World Health Organization would not recognize ultraviolet radiation as a carcinogen along with arsenic, smoking and asbestos.

    Where to run?

    If you notice an unusual mole on your body – be sure to go to a dermato-oncologist. If this doctor is not available, you can consult a dermatologist, surgeon or oncologist. An experienced specialist can visually determine the nature of the nevus. A special device, a dermatoscope, helps him in this. In fact, this is a powerful magnifying glass, examining a mole through it, the doctor can notice the smallest details that simply cannot be seen with the naked eye.If there is any doubt about the diagnosis, the doctor will conduct a histological examination to determine the characteristic signs of a benign, precancerous and malignant neoplasm.

    By the way, if you want to remove a mole for aesthetic reasons, the decision should also be made by a dermato-oncologist after dermatoscopy, which allows you to choose the optimal method, determine the boundaries and depth of removal.

    Even if the degeneration into melanoma did not occur, for medical reasons, those moles that are subjected to constant friction, pressure, trauma are removed.And also those that are in the groin area and under the arms, under the chest, on the belt, and in men – on the face at the shave site.

    If a mole that has degenerated into melanoma is removed at an early stage, the probability of complete recovery reaches 95%, if time is lost, it is only 20%.

    How to recognize a dangerous mole

    Doctors recommend that we regularly examine our body for strange moles or neoplasms. To make it easier to determine how typical or atypical a mole is, a special method has been developed called ABCDE.Each letter in this abbreviation denotes (in English) a key feature to watch out for.

    A (asymmetry) – asymmetry. The mole grows unevenly to the side. Normally, if you draw an imaginary straight line through the middle of the mole, the halves will be symmetrical.

    B (border irregularity) – rough edge. It can be cut, indistinct, and this is one of the signs of melanoma. Normally, a mole has smooth edges.

    C (color) – color. Its heterogeneity, blotches of black, red, gray shades should alert. Normally, the mole is entirely the same color.

    D (diameter) – diameter. If a mole is more than 6 mm in diameter (this is approximately the size of an eraser on the tip of a pencil), it requires the attention of a specialist.

    E (evolving) – variability. This refers to the variability of any characteristic: color, shape, size – all this is a reason to pay a visit to a dermatologist. Normally, moles remain unchanged throughout life.

    Everyone, without exception, should examine their moles more or less regularly, but there is a category of people who need to triple their attention to them. These are primarily those whose relatives suffered from melanoma or other oncological diseases, and those who have already had suspicious moles removed.

    In addition, those with fair hair and fair skin are at increased risk.

    In the presence of alarming symptoms, the doctor can prescribe a dermatoscopy and even make an individual photo map of moles.The device takes pictures of them, and then a special program creates a diagram of their location on the body.

    When a person comes to the doctor the next time, it will be possible to compare the “cards” of a year ago and the current one: are there any new formations, changes in the old ones. Dermatologists believe these maps are an excellent tool for early detection of melanoma.

    Material taken from the site http://www.aif.ru/health/life/vnimanie_rodinka_ne_propustite_ee_pererozhdenie_v_rak

    90,000 Five signs of a dangerous mole – MK

    Not every mole is dangerous, however, only a specialist can determine whether this or that pigmented formation on the skin promises problems.And yet there are several symptoms that should alert you and seek medical attention. After all, delay can end sadly. Advanced melanoma or skin cancer today is considered incurable in most cases, but there is already hope that the situation will change dramatically soon. However, experts keep repeating: the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the higher the chances of survival.

    According to the WHO, an average of 132 thousand people are registered in the world every year.new cases of this melanoma. The prevalence of this disease in Russia over the past 10 years has increased by 52%, and mortality – by 23%. In every fourth case, melanoma is detected at stages III-IV. Scientists attribute the rapid spread of the disease to the devastating effect of insolation (solar ultraviolet radiation), even in northern latitudes, which is associated with the steady destruction of the ozone layer. According to forecasts, every 10% decrease in the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere will lead to 4500 (!) New cases of skin melanoma.

    Skin melanoma, a highly malignant tumor, arises from melanocyte cells that form the melanin pigment. Most often it is a pigmented formation, which is popularly called a “mole”. Melanoma is very aggressive. Most often, the disease begins at a young to middle age (15 to 50 years) and spreads very quickly with metastases throughout the body.

    Pigmented formations on the skin (moles or nevi), which often “mask” melanoma, are found in 90% (!) Of the population.Those whose moles are larger than 5 mm, and their total number is 11-25, the risk of melanoma is 1.5 times higher than those with less than 10 moles.

    What kind of moles can be considered dangerous? Professor Lev Demidov is a member of the WHO Expert Council on melanoma, a representative of the State Institution of the Russian Oncology Center named after Blokhin Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, notes that it will be rather difficult for a non-specialist to determine such, and yet there are several signs that are a significant reason for a visit to a doctor. “People are used to calling all nevi moles, and a mole is like from birth,” says Professor Demidov.- So, those moles that really appeared from birth, more precisely, at the age of up to a year or two, in most cases do not become melanoma. Melanoma most often arises from a mole acquired during life. Such appear in puberty, as well as in the 3rd or 4th decade. And, of course, not all acquired moles form melanomas. The second important symptom is growth dynamics. It’s not easy to notice. For example, a 1.5 mm dot appears on the skin. A year later, its diameter is already 3 mm, and a year later – 5 mm.Such an object becomes the so-called. dysplastic nevus, which can degenerate into melanoma. But such things are rarely paid attention to. Many people think – I have always had it. Of course, not all nevi 5-6 mm in size are melanomas, but the growth potential (and this is 1-2 mm per year) always requires careful attention to them. ”

    However, as Lev Vadimovich continues, these two symptoms are not enough to draw any conclusions. There are other signs to consider. First of all, the shape of the mole.Is it correct or not? Is there asymmetry? If the shape of the mole is asymmetrical, this is another reason to bother the doctor. The fourth symptom is color. “People say: the main thing is that he is not black. This is nonsense, says Professor Demidov. – The color itself does not matter – it can be black, and brown, and light brown. The role is played by multicolor, the presence of two or three shades in the mole. And, finally, the fifth symptom is the border of the mole. Pay attention to its edges – are they clear or frayed, blurred, as if dissolving in the skin? The latter could be evidence of melanoma. “

    Professor Demidov says that in a number of countries even the ABCD method is adopted, where A is asymmetry, B is a border, C is a color and D is a diameter.

    As for risk factors, people with fair skin, with a large number of moles, are more prone to melanoma. Another risk factor is sunburn. “We are not against the sun, but it is useful as long as it does not cause burns. And it is especially important to protect children from them – in childhood, sunburn is just as harmful as in adulthood, ”says Professor Demidov.

    Experts urge people to regularly conduct independent examinations of moles and not neglect visits to doctors. However, the Russians, alas, are very poorly aware of this disease, doctors say. That is why they often turn to doctors when it is too late to do something. “In many countries, including Russia, there is a rapid increase in the incidence of skin melanoma,” says Lev Demidov. – In Russia, melanoma occupies a leading position in the increase in mortality. This is largely due to the lack of awareness of the population and the late diagnosis of the disease. “

    Meanwhile, life expectancy in melanomas directly depends on the stage of the tumor. So, at an early stage, the thickness of the tumor is about 1 mm, and after its surgical removal, 90% of patients get a chance to live 5 years without relapses. In the later stages, distant metastases appear, and in this case, the mortality rate within 1 year reaches 75%.

    Until recently, doctors had practically nothing to treat the disease in its later stages. However, today, with the emergence of a new direction – immuno-onology – the situation has changed somewhat.Many laboratories around the world are currently developing in this direction.

    So, normally, the immune system shouldn’t attack itself. However, when meeting with carcinogenic cells, immunity cells suddenly “go blind” and allow them to carry out destructive work in the body. The essence of immuno-oncology is to restore immune control over a tumor, that is, to make the immune system, which collides with malignant cells, wake up. Already known receptors that immerse the immune system in a state of sleep are CTLA-4 and PD-1.It has been proven that if these receptors are present on human lymphocytes, and similar molecules are present on the tumor cells, then the immune system will not respond to the tumor, and the disease will begin to progress. The task of immuno-onological drugs is to suppress these receptors, as a result of which the immune system “wakes up” and begins to recognize the tumor.

    “The real success of immunotherapy is associated with the emergence of a new generation of immuno-oncological drugs – inhibitors of regulatory molecules of key stages of the immune response.These drugs act not on cancer cells, but on the cells of the patient’s immune system, directing them to fight cancer. And the body begins to fight the tumor on its own with the help of the immune system, like with any other foreign cell, ”says a leading researcher at the Tumor Biotherapy Department of the Russian Cancer Research Center. N.N. Blokhin Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, member of ESMO and the Russian Society of Clinical Oncology Galina Kharkevich.

    Our doctors participated in studies of a new therapy in patients with metastatic melanoma.As Lev Demidov notes, a long-term positive effect was achieved in about 20% of patients. Today, doctors are trying to combine immunotherapy with surgical treatment, with chemotherapy. The effectiveness of such combinations is inspiring – up to half of the patients who were previously doomed survive. Meanwhile, research in the field of immuno-oncology is being conducted on other types of tumors – kidney, lung, head and neck, and many others. And today scientists call this method a breakthrough, which can turn cancer into the category of chronic diseases.

    90,000 Moles. Nevi – Israeli oncology clinic LISOD in Kiev, Ukraine

    Many people have pigment build-up on their skin called moles. Most often, these formations are benign. But if they suddenly begin to change size, shape or color, then this phenomenon must be taken very seriously, because such changes can be dangerous. To exclude cancer, it is necessary to remove moles and conduct a histological examination.If malignant moles are found, then their possibility of degeneration into melanoma, skin cancer is very high.

    Types of moles

    Skin changes in a small area are birthmarks or moles. They are non-vascular (dark or light pigmentation occurs on the skin, as well as stalked or verrucous eminences) and vascular (angiomas). Moles have no pronounced localization. They can be found in a newly born child and can appear throughout life.

    Hemangiomas (vascular moles) are purple or pink in color, their edges are uneven, and their size can be very different. If you press on them, they brighten. Capillary moles are flat, located on the surface of the skin. Moles are cavernous – knotty, located in the thickness of the skin, have a bumpy surface. Brown or gray plaques of various shapes with a hard and uneven surface are warty moles. Dark plaques, the size of which ranges from 1 cm to large areas on the skin, are pigmented moles.Pigmented hairy moles have an uneven surface and are covered with hair.

    If neoplasms or spots appear on the retina of the eyes, on the skin or mucous membranes, these are nevi. They can be found in humans at any age. They can occur in women during pregnancy. Their appearance is influenced by solar radiation. Most of these neoplasms are acquired by people during their lifetime. Therefore, the term “birthmarks” is not very accurate.

    Why are moles reborn? Why do malignant moles appear?

    Moles turn into malignant moles if an irritant is present.Especially dangerous are large doses of ultraviolet radiation, at which irreversible changes occur in the skin cells. It is impossible to determine exactly what dose is dangerous, because it is individual for each person. You need to know that you should avoid exposure to the sun for a long time. Burns that can be obtained by sunbathing affect the immune system of the skin – various neoplasms and malignant moles appear. Pregnant women should be very careful about tanning. During pregnancy, hormonal changes occur in the body, which can lead to changes in the condition of the skin.

    If a mole is injured, it can cause a tumor. If you accidentally injured a mole, consult an oncologist, be sure to contact an oncologist, not a therapist.

    Who are at risk?

    Or call:
    0-800-500-110 – free within Ukraine;
    +38 044 277-8-277 – daily from 8.00 to 20.00

    The doctor evaluates the shape and color of moles, analyzes their nature and potential danger.

    • People who have many moles on their bodies and their diameter is more than 5 mm.
    • Expectant mothers.
    • People with fair skin and blond hair.
    • People who have a lot of freckles.
    • People who have age spots.

    What is melanocytic dysplasia?

    It is necessary to know that in the initial form, melanoma is cured. Early on, the diagnosis is called melanocytic dysplasia, and although it sounds ominous, it can be successfully treated.The main thing is to be on your guard and, having noticed the changes, be sure to make an appointment with the oncologist.

    Symptoms of the transformation of moles into malignant moles

    • Ulcers or cracks on the surface of the mole.
    • Hair loss from the area of ​​a spot or mole.
    • Unpleasant sensations, burning in the place where the mole is.
    • The appearance of necrosis, spots, nodules next to the mole.
    • The size of the mole or age spot increases.
    • The border of the spot or birthmark changes (diffuses).
    • Inflammation, redness around the mole.
    • A mole or age spot is unevenly colored.
    • Forms a ring of black knots that merge together.

    If the above symptoms are found, it is necessary to urgently consult an oncologist.

    What to do with a mole?

    For prevention purposes, moles are not removed.Because they are common in humans, and the development of melanoma is a rare phenomenon. But, if you notice “torn” edges of the mole, inflammation, itching, pain, bleeding, an increase in the size of the mole, you need to consult an oncologist.

    Melanoma is a very insidious disease. A malignant tumor develops on the skin slowly, sometimes for decades. Metastases grow into the brain, heart, lungs, eyes. The incidence is increasing worldwide. Melanoma accounts for 4% of all malignant neoplasms today.

    How are suspicious moles treated?

    First of all, it is a surgical treatment: removal of a mole within healthy tissues. Then a histological examination of the mole is carried out. Once again, we emphasize that it is necessary to carefully consider any change in the mole – an increase in size, a change in shape, color, the appearance of new spots.

    Can melanoma be prevented? Prevention.

    Never be in the sun from 11 am to 4 pm. At this time, ultraviolet rays are very dangerous. Neither an awning, nor a hat, nor a cape will help – the sand reflects the sun’s rays, clouds pass them, a wet bathing suit. After swimming, take a shower, change into dry clothes.

    Remember that water droplets and crystalline sea salt in the sun turn into lenses that concentrate the rays. At the slightest suspicion, visit a specialist.

    You can make an appointment with dermatologist by calling the LISOD Information Center: 0-800-500-110 – a toll-free line for those calling from landline telephones in Ukraine, 38 (044) 520-94-00 – daily from 09:00 to 20:00

    90,000 symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

    A mole is a benign mass that appears on the skin. Its key feature is pronounced pigmentation against the general background of the skin.

    These pigments begin to appear at an early age. Children and adults have them. On the one hand, their presence does not cause any concern. On the other hand, moles from a benign formation can “develop” into a malignant one. Therefore, at the first signs of changes and severe symptoms, you should consult a specialist.

    In professional medicine, a mole has a different name – a nevus. In general, this is not a strict medical concept, the word is used to combine various neoplasms that are different in nature.

    Symptoms and signs of moles in adults

    In medical practice, sometimes you come across dangerous moles that need to be quickly removed. If this is not done, then the disease will begin to progress, which can lead to rather unpleasant consequences. Therefore, it is extremely important to monitor the state of pigmentation on the skin. Especially if there are large moles on your body or those that have begun to grow and visually change.

    Symptoms of “bad” moles are as follows:

    • other forms of moles appear, symmetry is lost, the neoplasm grows in one direction;
    • 90,031 edges become ragged;

    • color changes over time, it becomes uneven.This is the first sign that malignant moles appear on the body;
    • fast resizing;
    • change in texture – smooth moles become rough and vice versa;
    • If there are hairs on the surface, their sudden loss should make a person worry;
    • peeling, itching and burning in the place where there is a mole.

    Do you have suspicious moles?

    Only a doctor can accurately diagnose the disease.Do not delay the consultation – call by phone

    +7 (495) 775-73-60


    Why do moles appear on the skin? Every experienced mole doctor will say that there are several reasons for their appearance on the body:

    • ultraviolet radiation;
    • traumatic damage to the epidermis;
    • systematic violation of the integrity of the skin;
    • negative impact of radioactive background;
    • constant use of unhealthy food, smoking, taking alcoholic beverages.Because of this, moles on the body are constantly growing;
    • problems in the work of the endocrine system, changes in hormonal levels;
    • hereditary predisposition.

    Risk factors

    When a mole appears on the body, the causes, as a rule, are the effect of several risk factors.

    To prevent dangerous moles from appearing on the body, you need:

    • Limit sunbathing, cancel visits to the solarium;
    • to minimize trauma to the skin;
    • lead a healthy lifestyle – eat right and eliminate bad habits.


    When removing a mole, the laser non-invasively affects the skin area. This allows you to remove the birthmark as soon as possible. If the procedure is performed correctly, in accordance with the established requirements, the removed mole will not cause any complications.

    Thus, laser removal of moles is the only safe method of getting rid of harmless and dangerous neoplasms.

    When to see a doctor

    There are the following types of moles:

    • pigmented;
    • vascular.

    Usually, red moles on the body are safe, but only if they have not changed their color. Finding a mole, what to do in this case? First, we advise you to examine it carefully. You need to go to the clinic with a mole if you have:

    • bleeding or peeling;
    • 90,031 itching;

    • dark areola or rim;
    • rapid increase in size;
    • Sharp color change.

    Preparing to visit a doctor

    Regardless of what types of moles cover your body, try to limit contact with the problem area. Especially when it comes to direct exposure to ultraviolet rays.

    Only a qualified doctor can check moles.

    Diagnosis of moles in adults

    Moles are diagnosed by a dermato-oncologist. He diagnoses and removes moles using laser non-invasive technologies, including red moles.

    When performing diagnostics, a dermatoscope is used. The device helps to determine if red moles are dangerous to the human body. In some cases, histological analysis is performed.


    When removing a mole, the laser does not create any discomfort. After the completion of the operation, a small edema appears on the treated area, which is eliminated with the help of special ointments prescribed by a doctor.

    The duration of the course of treatment for a mole on the body is 2-3 months, depending on the individual characteristics of the organism.

    Home remedies

    Using home remedies is fraught with worsening health conditions. Therefore, we strongly recommend using only those products that have been prescribed by the attending physician.

    Myths and dangerous misconceptions in the treatment of moles in adults

    • Mole removal can be done at home. It is not true. Melanoma is possible.
    • A mole can be removed without examination. Histological analysis is the surest way to determine exactly how a mole can be removed – with a laser, liquid nitrogen, and so on.


    The best preventive measure is to try to limit sun exposure, including the number of visits to the solarium. When a mole appears, the reasons largely lie in the wrong lifestyle. So put yourself in order.

    How to make an appointment with a dermato-oncologist-surgeon

    In the city of Moscow, a mole is removed as quickly as possible. But at the same time, not everyone knows where to remove a mole quickly, safely and efficiently.Contact JSC “Medicine” (Academician Roitberg’s clinic)! For an individual consultation, we recommend that you contact the hotline operators for help by calling +7 (495) 775-73-60.


    “I am 29 years old, and my moles are still growing. Those that have appeared long ago are increasing in size, and new ones are constantly being added to them. Why is this happening and is it possible to somehow stop this process?”
    Raisa P., g.St. Petersburg

    – It is very difficult to give recommendations without seeing a person. Raisa definitely needs to see a dermatologist directly. Only by visually assessing the existing skin changes, it will be possible to say something definitely, and whether there is cause for concern.

    “What is the nature of moles and what are they?”
    Elagina Ekaterina, Pskov

    – Very often people call all neoplasms on the skin of a different color as moles.But doctors, moles are called nevi. Nevi are benign formations that are formed by melanocyte cells. Depending on the morphology, structure, cellular composition, location in the layers of the skin, there are many different variants of nevi, while the medical tactics for different nevi are different. Some must be removed without fail, some only for aesthetic reasons. Some moles are present from birth. Others appear during life. In the same way, they can independently regress, i.e.That is, an abyss, but this happens extremely rarely. In addition, there are many other skin conditions accompanied by the formation of pigmentation or tumor-like formations, which, in turn, certainly need to be treated.

    “I have a strange blue mole. What does this mean? What to do with it?”
    Valery Nikolaevich, Serpukhov

    – If you find a blue mole on your body, you should show it to a specialist.There are potentially dangerous nevi that may need to be removed. These include those described by Valery Nikolaevich. The color of a dangerous mole can be from blue to lilac-cyanotic. Also, be sure to see your doctor if you notice a mole:

    • changed its color or shape,
    • increased in size,
    • began to bleed,
    • subjective sensations appeared in her area (feeling of discomfort, sensation of a foreign body, itching, burning, tingling),
    • crusts appear on its surface,
    • has jagged edges, uneven consistency, or uneven pigmentation.

    “They removed my moles using the most advanced method, using a radio knife. But there are ugly marks at the site of removal. They will remain for life or can you do something?”
    Fedotova P.N.

    – When removing nevi (moles), different approaches are used. This can be a surgical intervention, when a mole is excised with a scalpel within healthy tissue. You can also carry out removal using diathermocoagulation, laser vaporization, cryodestruction.This is the technical side of the matter. The choice of method is always the competence of a specialist. The risk of scarring depends on the depth of the mole in the skin, the individual tendency to keloid formation, and the size of the mole itself. The choice of method is also significant. For example, laser removal has a minimal damaging effect on the underlying healthy tissue, which means there is less risk of formation of marks. And, of course, the result depends on the degree of qualification of the specialist. You know, it’s like in an accident on the road – the consequences do not depend on the class of the car, but on the person driving, his driving skills.Sorry for such a banal comparison. After removal, scars can indeed form. Before removal, the doctor can usually predict whether the scar will be and what it will be. The often formed scar, however, has a more aesthetic appearance than the mole itself. It is another matter if a keloid scar or a hypertrophic scar is formed larger than expected. In this case, it is already necessary to correct the scarred condition of the skin. This can be medication or surgery (for example, laser resurfacing) therapy.But in this case it is impossible to advise something definite without visual inspection.

    “I began to actively engage in fitness. And soon I noticed discomfort in an intimate place. The gynecologist said that it was not according to her profile. Just because of active training, I rubbed a mole located, sorry, between my legs. I would like to know how dangerous it is to injure. moles? ”
    Svetlana, Moscow

    – Undoubtedly, any injury to moles is potentially dangerous.Since nevi have vessels with a fairly wide diameter. And therefore, when they are injured, bleeding may appear or an inflammatory reaction may develop. It can be very difficult to stop the blood without the help of specialists; inflammatory phenomena also require medical intervention.

    If moles bother and are located in places where they can be susceptible to microtraumatization, in such cases, doctors strongly recommend removing them. In this case, it is more advisable to exclude a possible source of danger.After all, it is possible to accidentally injure neoplasms located on the scalp, when cutting, with constant mechanical impact – on the belt, where moles rub against the belt, the body – on the straps of the bra, even on the neck – on a small chain, or in skin folds.

    Some patients turn to doctors with a request to remove moles for aesthetic reasons. In this case, doctors also do not refuse.

    But even if a mole bothers you a lot, remember – in no case should they be removed at home.You will not be able to remove it completely and adequately on your own, but you can harm yourself. Part of the mole cannot be removed. It is necessary either not to touch it at all, or to remove it completely.

    An injured neoplasm can degenerate into a malignant one – basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, skin cancer, etc. Since partial removal is essentially an injury.

    “Are moles treated with medication? My sister removed the mole using the now fashionable method using a laser knife.”After the operation, a scar remained. Will it stay or will it dissipate over time? “
    Tatiana Alexandrova, St. Petersburg

    – The answer to a similar question has already been given (see question – Fedotova PN) No. Moles cannot be treated with medication.

    “I heard about the modern method of diagnosing moles. What is it?
    Kuzina O., Moscow region

    – No diagnostics for moles is carried out. This is the most complete quackery. In the process of a person’s life, nevi may appear. This is not some kind of unfavorable sign. There are diseases when the appearance of nevi may indicate some kind of trouble in the body. For example, some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In this case, only a council of specialists can assess the situation, dermatologists know such diseases, and they can suspect them.Fortunately, such cases are extremely rare.

    “Recently I went to Egypt. I got tanned. But I have a lot of moles on my body. Can a sunburn negatively affect my health? Will photoprotective creams save moles from burns?”
    Olga Novikova, Noginsk

    – By the way, ultraviolet irradiation is also a kind of trauma. Only in this case radiation is the damaging factor. We do not recommend that patients with a large number of neoplasms actively sunbathe and visit the solarium.There is a considerable danger that moles may behave inappropriately.

    What sunscreens are – a screen, not a mirror. That is, ultraviolet light is not 100% reflected. These creams prevent intense radiation. They reduce the effect of rays, depending on the protection factor, but not completely. When tanning, you need to know when to stop.

    “My friend, a Korean by nationality, has no moles at all. Doesn’t their presence really depend on nationality?”
    Xenia P., Moscow

    – Not all people are equally susceptible to the likelihood of neoplasms, for example, in the Mongoloid and Negroid races, the number of nevi as a percentage of the population is quite low. But at the same time, their incidence of melanoma is quite high. And among the Caucasian race, approximately 3/4 of the population have some kind of benign neoplasms.

    “Can a mole be inherited? My mother and grandmother have many large moles, but I still don’t have that many.”And can they be prevented at all? “
    Vekhareva S.G.

    – I guess, yes. A predisposition to the appearance of nevoid formations can be inherited. It is difficult to predict whether it will be realized or not. Indeed, it happens that moles appear in relatives in the same places, but this is not an absolute regularity.

    “Do doctors believe in omens? For example, grandmothers say that if a person on the right has more moles, then he is happier than the one who has moles on the left.Is this true or not? “
    Ksenia Petrovna, Lyubertsy Moscow region

    – I do not believe in that. Rather, such signs are from the field of folk legends. To identify a pattern, it is necessary to conduct clinical trials, statistically process data on a large group of patients with moles on the right and left, and then draw conclusions. And such scientific observations and studies have not been carried out.

    “Is it possible to trust the removal of moles to the specialists of beauty salons? Or is it better to go to the clinic?”
    Olga Antonova, Moscow

    – Now any medical activity is very clearly regulated by law.If it is a beauty salon, then it should deal with cosmetics. Removal of neoplasms is only the lot of professionals with sufficient qualifications, skills and licenses. If a doctor or a beauty salon has a license to conduct surgical procedures, dermatology, oncology, and also has all the equipment, equipment and material and technical base, the appropriate qualifications and experience of a specialist, then please. But if this is not the case, then there can be no talk of any surgical intervention at the level of beauty salons.But will the salons have everything they need in case of an emergency situation, then what to do in a beauty salon? This, I think, is fraught with unpredictable consequences. In addition, we are physically, professionally and legally responsible for our actions.

    90,000 Removal of nevi in ​​Kharkov – Center for European Dermatology

    Nevus: should it be removed and in what cases

    Nevus is the medical name for a mole, a benign neoplasm on the skin that has a flat or convex appearance.

    Removal of nevi in ​​Kharkov is carried out in the specialized medical center “European Dermatology” using modern innovative medical equipment of the European class.

    To remove a nevus in Kharkov, the doctor must conduct a visual examination of the formation, find out whether it causes discomfort when it comes into contact with clothes, or spoils the appearance. Depending on the objective picture, a decision will be made on further actions.

    High-quality medical service in terms of diagnosis and removal of moles by professional specialists is provided by the medical center “European Dermatology”, on the website of which, in the section on removal of nevi in ​​Kharkov, prices for this procedure are indicated using various methods.

    Classification of nevi by type

    Type 1 – pigmented nevi ( freckles )

    • Focal accumulations of pigment cells with an excessive amount of melanin.
    • Localized more often on the face, less often on other parts of the body, sometimes on mucous membranes.

    Type 2 – vascular nevi ( angiomas)

    • Formed as a result of the tendency of some blood vessels to proliferate.

    Type 3 – congenital nevi

    • Appears at birth or in the first few months of a child’s life.
    • As the child grows, they tend to increase in size up to 20 cm or more.

    Type 4 – acquired nevi

    • Spawn by themselves at any age.
    • In most cases, their size does not exceed 5-7 mm.
    • Frequent exposure to the sun contributes to their occurrence.

    Which nevi are considered benign and which are melanoma-prone


    • Papillomatous nevus – hanging dark moles, prone to changes in shape and size.
    • Intradermal nevus – soft in structure, rounded nevus with clearly defined borders, slightly protruding above the skin.
    • Halonevus – more common in patients diagnosed with vitiligo, because in appearance it is a small convex dark formation on the skin, around which a halo devoid of pigmentation is clearly visible.
    • Fibroepithelial nevus is a small, wart-like, globular formation on a pedicle that has a vascular pattern and is covered with coarse hair. It is quite traumatic and prone to inflammation.
    • Nevus “Mongolian spot” – congenital nevus, found in representatives of the Mongoloid race. It has a grayish-blue tint and is localized in the buttocks or sacrum area.

    Melanoma-prone nevi

    • Clark’s dysplastic nevus – in appearance it looks like a flat spot with a smooth surface.Has a different color.
    • Border pigmented nevus is a small, convex, dark-colored mole that does not have a clear border.
    • Giant nevus is a congenital formation that is large in size, of various colors and structures.