Moles

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Nearly everyone has moles, or pigmented spots on your skin. Most moles are harmless but some can be cancerous. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about moles in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

A mole is a pigmented spot on the outer layer of the skin. Moles are common and almost every adult has a few moles.

Moles can be round, oval, flat or raised. They can occur singly or in clusters on any part of the body. Most moles are brown, but colors can range from pink to yellow, blue or black.

Changes in hormone levels that occur during puberty and pregnancy can make moles larger and darker. Most moles are benign, but atypical moles may develop into malignant melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. Atypical moles are usually bigger than a pencil eraser, with irregular shape and pigmentation.

The cause of moles is unknown, although atypical moles seem to run in families and result from exposure to sunlight.

A mole that has the following symptoms should be evaluated by a dermatologist:

Appears after the age of 20

Bleeds

Itches

Looks unusual or changes in any way.

Only a small percentage of moles require surgical resection.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.