Is it normal to have atypical moles?
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.
When do atypical moles appear?
Dysplastic moles usually appear in individuals during their 20s and can be found anywhere on the body, such as the scalp, but are more common on sun-exposed areas, such as the trunk and extremities.
How can you tell the difference between atypical moles and melanoma?
Atypical moles are often larger than other nevi (> 6 mm diameter) and primarily round (unlike many melanomas) but with indistinct borders and mild asymmetry. In contrast, melanomas have greater irregularity of color and may have areas that are red, blue, whitish, or depigmented with a scarred appearance.
How often are atypical moles cancerous?
The risk of an atypical mole becoming cancerous is about 1%, compared to . 03% for an ordinary mole. In addition to atypical moles, risk factors for developing melanoma include: Red or blond hair.
Should all atypical moles be removed?
Atypical moles should be removed when they have features suggestive of malignant transformation. Elliptical excision is the preferred removal technique. Removing all atypical moles is neither necessary nor cost effective.
Should I worry about atypical mole?
Yes. An atypical mole that is itching, painful, swelling, crusting or oozing should be checked immediately by a dermatologist or other physician experienced with skin disorders.
What does mildly atypical mole mean?
Atypical moles, also known as dysplastic nevi, are unusual-looking moles that have irregular features under the microscope. Though benign, they are worth more of your attention because individuals with atypical moles are at increased risk for melanoma, a dangerous skin cancer.
Can you have melanoma for years and not know?
How long can you have melanoma and not know it? It depends on the type of melanoma. For example, nodular melanoma grows rapidly over a matter of weeks, while a radial melanoma can slowly spread over the span of a decade. Like a cavity, a melanoma may grow for years before producing any significant symptoms.
How long does melanoma take 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.
Are all changing moles cancerous?
Are these changes in moles always a sign of skin cancer? No, changing moles do not always equate to skin cancer and most moles are usually harmless. It can be normal for moles to change in number and appearance; some can also disappear over time.