What is a Mole?
A mole is also called a naevus . It is a harmless growth formed by pigment cells in the skin called melanocytes. Moles are very common and we all have moles on our skin. Some people have a few and some have many and are said to be very moley and this is down to genes. Some of the moles are present at birth (congenital naevus) and others appear during childhood (acquired naevus).
Moles can be of different shapes, sizes and colours. Moles can be flat or raised and consist of a number of colours from skin colour to different shades of brown or even black.They can be anywhere on the body.
Can a mole become cancerous?
Potentially any mole can become cancerous (mole cancer is called melanoma) but the vast majority of moles are harmless. If you use appropriate sun protection and avoid sun burn, you will minimise the risk of developing skin cancer. When a mole turns cancerous it often increases in size, can develop new colours within, can become lumpy, become irregular in shape or start bleeding spontaneously. Often the abnormal mole will stand out like the ‘ugly duckling’ among other surrounding moles.
If you are concerned about a mole, do not delay getting it checked. All of our Dermatology consultants are highly experienced in diagnosis and management of skin cancer and you will get an immediate expert opinion and treatment plan, if necessary. Skin cancer is on the rise so you can never be too cautious. Remember it is always better to be safe.
I have too many moles on my skin, how can I monitor them?
Monitoring your moles is very important as an early detection of an abnormal mole (or early skin cancer) can lead to prompt treatment and often complete cure. You can take photographs of your moles to help you monitor them or alternatively we can help to map them for you with our state of the art Mole scanner. Mole scanning is available at our Worthing and Brighton clinics. Learn more about the benefits of mapping your moles with a mole scanner here.
Can a mole be safely removed ?
Yes, but it is important your Dermatologist examines the mole first. There are two main types of mole removal procedures: a shave excision and a full excision with stitches. The doctor will advise you which type of procedure would be best for you depending on the type of mole and the reason for removal
Sometimes it is important a mole is sent for histological analysis (biopsy) and the doctor will advise you on that on the day of the procedure. Read more on Mole removal.