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Are Moles Dangerous?

April 11, 2013
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This week Disability Living is blogging about skin abnormalities and their treatments, and moles are a type of skin abnormality. Many individuals wonder whether or not moles are dangerous. This blog post seeks to help clarify that question.

What are moles?

Moles are skin imperfections that are often not medically dangerous, but sometimes pose a health risk. Few people actually like the look of moles, therefore some resort to having moles professionally removed. Moles can be virtually any color, and are either raised or flat.

Why do people get moles?

Moles are either inherited genetically or developed due to sun exposure. Genetically-caused moles are also known as “congenital moles.” Individuals are born with congenital moles. Congenital moles are not typically dangerous. Still, it is a wise idea to have a dermatologist look at any moles you may have.

When are moles dangerous?

Moles that develop after a person turns thirty can potentially be dangerous, and sometimes are even cancerous. This is why it is crucial that adults be familiar with the appearance of their skin. This helps them to see when a new growth or mole has developed. If you are at least thirty and have noticed a new mole, please have it checked out by a dermatologist. If a dermatologist is concerned about any growth on your skin, he or she will do a biopsy to determine whether or not the growth or mole is potentially harmful.

How do you know if a mole is potentially harmful?

It’s not always easy to discern a dangerous mole from a non-dangerous mole, but we should all become educated about what each type of mole looks like. Take a look at the following chart to get an idea of what a potentially harmful mole usually looks like:

– Cancerous mole — “Looks highly irregular, and can become cancerous over time”

– Irregular mole — Asymmetrical, often larger than a typical mole, multi-colored

– Regular mole — Size of a pencil eraser, uniform color, symmetrical

If you are unsure if your mole is regular, irregular, or cancerous, please visit a dermatologist as soon as possible. If there is even a hint of a question in your mind as to whether or not your mole is cancerous, do not hesitate to see a physician.

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