Atypical moles, also called dysplastic moles, are very common. An estimated one out of every 10 Americans has at least one atypical mole. These moles are larger than common moles, with borders that are irregular and poorly defined.
Are atypical moles always cancerous?
An atypical mole is not a skin cancer but having these moles is a risk factor for developing melanoma. Although rare, melanoma can arise in association with atypical moles. That is why it is important to be aware of these moles, get them checked by your dermatologist, and watch out for changing moles.
What percentage of atypical moles are cancerous?
These moles aren’t cancerous, but they can turn into cancer. About 1 out of every 10 Americans has at least one atypical mole. The more of these moles you have, the greater your risk of developing melanoma — the deadliest type of skin cancer. Having 10 or more atypical moles increases your risk 14-fold.
What does it mean when a mole is atypical?
Atypical moles are benign melanocytic nevi with irregular and ill-defined borders, variegated colors usually of brown and tan tones, and macular or papular components. Patients with atypical moles have an increased risk of melanoma.
Should I worry about atypical mole?
Common moles can be pink, tan or brown spots, aggregations of pigmented cells that are either round or oval in shape and have a smooth surface. But it’s important to keep an eye out for atypical moles that may put you at higher risk for melanoma, she says.
Can atypical moles be 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.
How often are atypical moles cancerous?
About 1 in 10 people develop atypical moles during their lifetime. These moles are not cancerous, and need not be removed if they are not changing. Instead, atypical moles can be a sign of an increased risk for melanoma skin cancer.
How can you tell the difference between atypical moles and melanoma?
Like dysplastic nevi, melanoma presents itself as an asymmetrical, multicolored growth with an irregular border.
Some other characteristics of atypical moles are:
- Larger than average moles.
- The surface can be bumpy or smooth.
- Can have a raised darker center surrounded by a flat, lighter area.
What does early stage melanoma look like?
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. Diameter: There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than the size of a pea (larger than 6 millimeters or about 1/4 inch).
How long does it take for a cancerous mole to spread?
Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as six 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.
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 does a suspicious mole look like?
A mole that does not have the same color throughout or that has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red is suspicious. Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. A mole of many shades or that has lightened or darkened should be checked by a doctor.
Are Raised moles bad?
There are many reasons why moles can be raised, the main one being a healthy benign intradermal mole, which can be genetic, long standing, soft and sometimes wobbly to touch. They may lose colour or get darker with age. These types of moles should be monitored for drastic change, but generally aren’t cause for concern.
Do atypical moles grow back?
Generally, mild atypical moles are thought to be relatively low risk. Usually these moles are observed for recurrence. If they regrow after being incompletely removed, or become symptomatic, a small safety margin around the pigment/scar may be surgically removed and rechecked.
At what age should I worry about moles?
Having a large or giant mole increases the child’s risk of developing melanoma. This risk is greater when the child is young. More than half of melanomas that develop are diagnosed by ten years of age. A child who has a large or giant mole should be under a dermatologist’s care.
Do normal moles turn into melanoma?
Can a common mole turn into melanoma? Yes, but a common mole rarely turns into melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. Although common moles are not cancerous, people who have more than 50 common moles have an increased chance of developing melanoma (1).