Moles: What You Need To Know

Moles are a part of most people's lives. They can be with you from birth or randomly appear throughout your life. If you have an unwanted or worrisome mole, contacting a mole removal specialist is something you should seriously consider. There are certain types of moles that can be a sign of a larger issue, like melanoma. Understanding the different types of moles and when a mole should be removed can help you determine which moles on your body may need addressing.

Are all moles the same?

Unfortunately moles come in all shapes and sizes and not all are the same. The most common mole is aptly named 'the common mole'. The common mole is a cluster of cells that are smaller than a pencil eraser, round or oval and evenly colored throughout. The color should be consistent throughout and may resemble pink, tan or brown shades. Common moles aren't usually cancerous, but they aren't exempt from turning into melanoma.

Atypical (dysplastic), congenital and spitz nevus are the other three types of moles that you should familiarize yourself with. Atypical moles are as they sound, atypical. If a mole on your body doesn't fit the common mole description, you have an atypical mole. If you are born with a mole, it is referred to as a congenital mole and will grow as you grow. A spitz nevus is a benign skin tumor that usually grows on the face or limbs. Spitz nevus moles so closely resemble melanoma that removal is often recommended. Removal and biopsying the tissue is the only way to determine if the mole is cancerous or a spitz nevus mole.

What makes a mole dangerous?

Just because you have moles doesn't mean you are harboring cancerous cells in your body. The average 'common' mole, atypical mole, congenital mole and spitz nevus mole are harmless. Unfortunately, each of these types of moles do have a small possibility of turning into cancerous cells. Familiarizing yourself with the red flags can keep those harmless moles from turning into very harmful melanoma. You should visit your medical professional if you experience any of the following:

  • A large cluster of atypical or dysplastic moles
  • Parent, sibling or child has been diagnosed with skin cancer
  • Mole that has grown larger than a pencil eraser
  • Mole with uneven edges, or non-uniform shape overall
  • Multi-color moles
  • Moles that itch or ooze

Melanoma can be treated with an incredibly high success rate when caught early. Regular visits to your mole removal specialist can help you determine if you have moles that should be monitored and/or removed.

It's important to remember that just because you have a mole doesn't mean you have cancer. Regular examinations by medical professionals can help prevent suspect moles from turning into something more sinister. If you have any moles that fit fall into the "possibility" category, have them checked as soon as possible. Removal is simple and minimally invasive. Talk to your doctor, such as Calgary Laser Health & Beauty Centre, for more information.