Most moles are harmless. Rarely, they become cancerous. Monitoring moles and other pigmented patches is an important step in detecting skin cancer, especially malignant melanoma. The medical term for moles is nevi.
Can a small mole be cancerous?
Normal moles are generally round or oval, with a smooth edge, and usually no bigger than 6mm in diameter. But size is not a sure sign of melanoma. A healthy mole can be larger than 6mm in diameter, and a cancerous mole can be smaller than this.
Should you worry about small moles?
Most moles are benign or noncancerous, but they can change over time. Atypical moles that have an uneven color, irregular shape, or larger size than other moles may be more than an annoying cosmetic issue — they could indicate the presence of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.
Are small moles safe?
Most are benign, meaning they’re not cancerous. See your doctor if a mole appears later in your life, or if it starts to change size, color, or shape. If it has cancer cells, the doctor will want to remove it right away. Afterward, you’ll need to watch the area in case it grows back.
Is it normal to have small moles appear?
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 tiny mole be melanoma?
While it’s ideal to detect a melanoma when it is small, it’s a warning sign if a lesion is the size of a pencil eraser (about 6 mm, or ¼ inch in diameter) or larger. Some experts say it is also important to look for any lesion, no matter what size, that is darker than others. Rare, amelanotic melanomas are colorless.
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 I know if my mole is bad?
It’s important to get a new or existing mole checked out if it:
- changes shape or looks uneven.
- changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours.
- starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding.
- gets larger or more raised from the skin.
What age should I worry about new moles?
Moles show up on the skin where pigment cells grow in clusters. Most adults have some common moles, but they often fade by the age of 40. Changing moles or growing a new mole after age 60 can be a sign of skin cancer.
When should I get my mole checked out?
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.
Is a mole flat or raised?
A normal mole is usually an evenly colored brown, tan, or black spot on the skin. It can be either flat or raised. It can be round or oval. Moles are generally less than 6 millimeters (about ¼ inch) across (about the width of a pencil eraser).
Do moles go away?
They can change and evolve over time. Some moles eventually fall off altogether. When healthy moles disappear, the process is typically gradual. A disappearing mole may begin as a flat spot, gradually become raised, then get light, pale, and eventually disappear.
Are moles bad for your house?
Although the creatures may seem innocuous, they can cause large amounts of damage. “Moles contribute to the freeze-thaw cycle under foundations, slabs and sidewalks,” Loven explains. “Their tunnels allow water to accumulate and cracks to begin. This is not something to be blase about.”
Do you get more moles as you age?
Some People Are More Prone to Moles than Others
You tend to acquire more as you get older. New moles after the age of 25 are somewhat concerning. If you get a lot of new dark, changing moles they may be cancerous so be attentive to new moles and make an appointment with your provider if you think it may be cancer.
Is a new mole cause for concern?
In most cases, moles are nothing to worry about, especially if you’ve had them since childhood or adolescence, which is when moles first tend to appear. They can darken or lighten, and neither occurrence is necessarily a sign of melanoma. Developing a new mole as an adult, though, is a different story.