Frequent question: Can changes in moles be normal?

Short answer: Yes. “There are normal changes that can occur in moles,” Kohen says. “For example, moles on the face can start out as brown patches, and over time as we grow older, these moles can raise up, lose color and simply become flesh-colored bumps.” Moles can lighten or darken in color, and raise or flatten.

Can moles change and be harmless?

Changes in benign moles

Environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight, and hormonal changes such as going through puberty or pregnancy can cause moles to darken or develop. Therefore, the appearance of moles can change over time. They can change in number and appearance and can also fade away.

What does it mean if a mole changes?

Changes in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole are often the first warning signs of melanoma. These changes can occur in an existing mole, or melanoma may appear as a new or unusual-looking mole. The “ABCDE” rule is helpful in remembering the warning signs of melanoma: Asymmetry.

Can a doctor tell if a mole is cancerous just by looking at it?

Unfortunately, you can’t tell by looking at a mole whether it’s cancerous or what type it is. It could very well be a normal skin spot with an abnormal appearance. A dermatologist can’t always tell the difference either.

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How quickly do cancerous moles change?

Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body.

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.

Can a mole get bigger and not be cancerous?

Healthy moles do not change in size, shape or color. If you notice a mole is getting bigger, changing shapes or getting darker than normal, this could be a sign of a malignant mole.

What does Stage 1 melanoma mean?

In Stage I melanoma, the cancer cells are in both the first and second layers of the skin—the epidermis and the dermis. A melanoma tumor is considered Stage I if it is up to 2 mm thick, and it may or may not have ulceration. There is no evidence the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or distant sites (metastasis).

Is it a skin tag or mole?

Most moles are harmless and don’t cause pain or other symptoms unless you rub them or they bump against something. Skin tags are small, soft pieces of skin that stick out on a thin stem. They most often appear on the neck, armpits, upper trunk, and body folds. The cause of skin tags is not known.

When should I worry about a mole?

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.

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Where does melanoma begin?

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. While it can develop anywhere on the skin, it most commonly starts on the trunk (chest and back) in men and on the legs in women. Other common locations for melanoma include the face and neck, and on the scalp in men.

What do melanoma spots look like?

Border that is irregular: The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin. Color that is uneven: Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.