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Prevea Health

Is it a mole or melanoma?


You might have noticed spots on your skin and wondered what they might be. It is very common for adults to have moles; usually moles begin to develop during childhood or adolescence. A mole is a skin growth that happens when pigment cells grow in clusters. They can vary in size and color and are typically non-cancerous. Adults can have anywhere from 10 to 40 moles and develop new ones until about the age of 40. 

Moles can change in shape, color and texture over time due to age or a sign of something more serious. Although it is rare that a common mole will turn into melanoma, a type of skin cancer, it can happen. Melanoma is when a form of cancer invades nearby tissue in the skin and spreads to other parts of the body. The earlier melanoma is detected the more successful treatment will be. 

Look for these changes in your mole to detect if you should see a doctor: 
  • Color changes
  • Changes in shape, texture or height
  • Skin texture becomes dry or scaly
  • Begins to itch
  • Starts to bleed or ooze
  • Becomes hard

It is encouraged that everyone does self-exams to see if there are any new moles, bumps or overall changes to the skin. By doing this, diseases and issues can be detected early on and limit any future pain or discomfort. If you see any mole or skin changes on your body, contact a dermatologist right away. 

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