Moles are a common occurrence in many individuals. The dark color in moles is due to the melanin pigment.
Why moles occur and how they develop is not well understood. The majority of moles are harmless and do not pose a health risk.
However, there are certain moles which are unusual looking and are more likely to turn into a cancer. These unusual moles can occur on the back, chest and legs and more likely to become malignant
Moles can occur in both genders and in all ages. Moles which are most likely to become malignant include:
Large moles present at birth. There are some moles which appear at birth which are very large. These large moles may appear on the neck or legs may often have hair growing on them. These large or hairy moles have a higher chance of turning into malignant melanomas.
The bigger the size of the mole at birth the greater the chance of cancer later in life
Moles that run in families. There are some moles called dsyplastic nevi. These moles tend to run in families. The dysplastic moles are very small in size (2-6 mm) and have an irregular shape. They usually have a dark brown color with lighter edges. Some individuals may have anywhere from 1-20 such nevi. These small nevi also have the potential to turn into melanomas
Numerous moles. The number of moles an individual has also increases the risk of melanoma.
All individuals who have numerous moles or moles which are large in size need to be followed yup by a dermatologist.
Individuals with unusual moles need a thorough skin examination regularly. If there is any change in size, shape, color or bleeding from the mole, a biopsy is mandatory.
Biopsy of a mole is a simple procedure. The procedure is generally done under local anesthesia and is performed in a dermatologists' office. The moles can be either completely excised under local anesthesia or the top part can be shaved off in slices and examined under a microscope. The biopsy is done in such as away so as not to disturb the mole in case it is a cancer.