Question: What is the difference between an atypical mole and melanoma?

Atypical moles are often larger than other nevi (> 6 mm diameter) and primarily round (unlike many melanomas) but with indistinct borders and mild asymmetry. In contrast, melanomas have greater irregularity of color and may have areas that are red, blue, whitish, or depigmented with a scarred appearance.

Do all atypical moles turn into melanoma?

Some atypical (as well as common) moles can change into melanoma, but most atypical moles will never change to cancer. In fact, melanoma is more likely to develop as a new, unusual spot on normal skin, unrelated to moles.

Are atypical moles more common than melanoma?

“People who have family members with atypical moles are at greater risk than the rest of the population for developing melanoma — even if there’s no history of melanoma.” And, if there is a family history of melanoma, people with atypical moles have up to a 27% higher chance of developing melanoma.

Can atypical moles look like melanoma?

Atypical moles are very similar to melanoma: both are asymmetrical, multicolored, have an irregular border, and can grow over time. While not all atypical moles are precancerous moles, they can become cancerous moles or melanoma.

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What does it mean if a mole is atypical?

(ay-TIH-pih-kul mole) A type of mole that looks different from a common mole. Several different types of moles are called atypical. Atypical moles are often larger than common moles and have regular or ragged or blurred borders that are not easy to see.

What percent of atypical moles become melanoma?

One study found that the risk of an atypical mole turning into melanoma over an individual’s lifetime is less than 0.1% for both men and women.

Should I worry about atypical mole?

Yes. An atypical mole that is itching, painful, swelling, crusting or oozing should be checked immediately by a dermatologist or other physician experienced with skin disorders.

When should atypical moles be removed?

The greatest risk of melanoma is in patients who have more than 50 atypical moles and two or more family members with melanoma (familial atypical mole and melanoma syndrome). Atypical moles should be removed when they have features suggestive of malignant transformation.

Should dysplastic nevus be removed?

Dysplastic nevi can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. Mild is closer to benign, while moderate to severe is closer to melanoma. When diagnosed, most dermatologists will recommend that severe dysplastic nevi be removed as a precaution.

How often does dysplastic nevus turn into melanoma?

These goals include melanoma detection and prevention. The lifetime transformation risk of an “average” dysplastic nevus into melanoma is estimated at 1 in 10 000, though risk likely varies with grade of atypia.

What percentage of biopsied moles are melanoma?

Lab testing showed that more than 90 percent of biopsied moles were completely removed by using the single procedure, with 11 (7 percent) diagnosed as melanoma, one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer.

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What percentage of dysplastic nevus becomes melanoma?

Most studies have found that approximately 20% of melanomas arise out of a DN; the numbers arising out of other types of nevi have not been well quantified and the majority of melanoma tumors arise de novo(7). Although DN may be designated as precursors, the dysplastic nevus itself rarely progresses to melanoma.

Are atypical moles always cancerous?

While atypical moles are considered to be pre-cancerous (more likely to turn into melanoma than regular moles), not everyone who has atypical moles gets melanoma.

Is atypical mole benign?

Atypical moles are benign pigmented lesions. Although they are benign, they exhibit some of the clinical and histologic features of malignant melanoma. They are more common in fair-skinned individuals and in those with high sun exposure.

Do atypical moles change over time?

Most types of atypical moles remain stable over time. Patients with five or more dysplastic nevi are 10 times more likely to develop melanoma than individuals with no atypical moles. The greater the number of dysplastic nevi on the body, the more likely the development of melanoma.

How long does melanoma take to spread?

Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.