Moles are colored growths or bumps that appear on the skin, produced by pigment cells, called melanocytes, when they grow in groups.
Having moles is very common, in fact, they do not usually cause any health problems. Each person has approximately between ten and forty moles throughout their body, and new ones may appear until they are forty years old. As a person ages, moles tend to disappear.
There are brown, black or pink polka dots and they can be flat or raised. Regarding its shape, it is usually round or oval.
Sometimes, some people may have a mole that looks different than usual, either because of the shape, the relief or the color. These moles are called dysplastic nevi and need to be monitored because they are more sensitive to turning into melanoma .
Before any growth or alteration in a mole, it is advisable to consult with the dermatologist or the family doctor to carry out an evaluation and rule out possible problems.
What a healthy mole looks like
Generally, a healthy mole is smaller than 5 millimeters, about the size of a pencil eraser.
It is regular in shape, oval or round, with a smooth surface and a well-defined edge. It is normal for the bulge to be dome-shaped.
As for the color of a common mole, it varies depending on the phenotype of the person. Blondes tend to have lighter moles than brunettes, who tend to have dark colored freckles. In any case, the color of the stain is usually uniform, without variations or gradients.
When to worry about a mole?
Sometimes different moles appear, which can be a symptom of a serious condition called melanoma.
If we detect an unusual mole, or that one of the usual moles has changed in appearance, it is important to visit a medical specialist immediately.
What is melanoma
Melanoma is the most serious of all types of skin cancer. It has a tendency to spread rapidly to other parts of the body and, without immediate treatment, can be fatal.
It is common that the first symptoms of this disease are changes in the texture, shape or color of the mole. Most malignant moles have a black or bluish black area and are often unsightly.
When to worry about a mole
Some of the signs that indicate possible malignancy in a mole are the following:
- Asymmetry. When it is observed that the shape of the freckle is irregular, that its halves are not the same or that its edges are not smooth and uniform, it may be an indication of melanoma.
- Increase in size. Moles are usually up to a centimeter in diameter, if a mole is larger in size, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. But, above all, if one of them begins to grow, since the variations can be indicators of pathology.
- Sudden appearance. When a mole appears suddenly and begins to take on a blackish hue, it is quite likely that it can cause problems.
- Color changes Normally, moles have a uniform color, if it is noticed that there are color changes or that the freckle has a kind of gradient, it is surely the beginning of skin cancer.
- Swelling, pain, bleeding or itching are symptoms of malignancy in a mole. If you have these symptoms, it is urgent to consult your doctor, because it is possible that the disease has already developed.
If there is a history of skin cancer in the family, it is important that we monitor each of the spots or freckles more closely, since genetics play a very important role in the development of this type of pathology.
Do common moles turn into melanomas?
Generally, common moles do not end up becoming melanomas, it is more common that the so-called dysplastic nevi (abnormal moles) can lead to this disease.
Still, it is not common for dysplastic nevi to turn into melanomas. When a person has more than five of these freckles, they have a greater chance of developing the disease, so it is advisable to exercise more intense vigilance.
Is it advisable to remove a dysplastic nevus?
Usually, dermatologists only remove moles that are growing or changing. Since most dysplastic nevi do not turn into cancer, there is no need to remove them for prevention.
Even if these types of freckles are removed, melanoma could develop in any other colored part of the skin, so it is better to monitor than to remove.
How is melanoma diagnosed?
If signs of malignancy are seen, the doctor will remove a part of the suspicious tissue to send to the laboratory to look for cancer cells. This procedure is relatively simple and can be carried out in the dermatologist’s own office.
Once the sample has been extracted, a pathologist will determine the existence or not of malignant cells by observing them through the mycoscope.
Treatment for melanoma
Treatment for a melanoma begins with the removal of the affected part of the skin. Depending on the stage you are in, the use of radiation therapy , cream medicine, or chemotherapy may be recommended.
How to prevent melanoma
The best weapon to fight melanoma is prevention. Although it is not always possible to avoid this disease, if possible symptoms are monitored, it can be detected in very early stages and an effective treatment can be achieved.
The sun is one of the worst enemies for our skin and one of the factors that most affects the development of cancer. Protecting the skin with a good sun factor and avoiding exposure to peak hours will help prevent the development of this pathology.
It is important to avoid prolonged or unprotected exposures. The skin has memory, so it is advisable to take care of yourself from the earliest ages and avoid burns or other damage caused by the sun.
If in doubt, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist or a trusted doctor.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.