Most individuals have developed some or many moles on their body by the time they reach adulthood. While most moles are harmless, certain characteristics or rapid growth can lead to melanoma.

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Moles are brown or black growths that appear on the skin. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone, or in clusters. Moles develop when cells in the skin grow together instead of being spread throughout the skin. Some moles, such as those that develop suddenly or change size or shape, can indicate a serious skin condition or even cancer.

Skin Moles Risk Factors

Factors that increase the likelihood of developing moles include:

  • Family History
  • Sun exposure
  • Adolescent individuals
  • Pregnancy

The development of moles can increase the risk of skin cancer. Individuals who develop moles at a later stage in life, known as atypical moles, are at an increased risk of developing melanoma. In addition, moles that appear suddenly, change shape, size, or color also may indicate skin cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Moles

For most individuals, moles generally develop by the age of 30. The physical development is often the only symptom of mole growth. Throughout time, moles usually change gradually and may become raised or change color while some moles may disappear over time. Hair may develop near some moles.

Moles Diagnosis and Treatment

Although most moles that develop are not cancerous, routine skin evaluations can help detect changes that may indicate an increased risk of skin cancer. Moles that develop suddenly or dramatically grow in size should be screened immediately for cancerous cells. Moles also should be evaluated if they bleed, ooze, itch, or become painful to the touch.

After an evaluation at Adena Dermatology, if a mole is suspected to be cancerous or could lead to future problems, they will likely be removed, usually though a procedure known as surgical excision where the mole is completely cut from the skin, or through shaving, a procedure in which the mole is removed by using a blade to shave off layers.

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