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Author Message
DianeHaught
Post subject: Moles and You  PostPosted: Jul 16, 2005 - 04:08 PM





Sergeant
Moles
(Skin Nevi)
by Rick Alan

Medical Information
It is not the intention of Raptor-Pack to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Raptor-Pack urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions and specific medical advice




Definition
Moles are small growths on the skin that develop from pigment-producing cells in the skin called melanocytes. They typically appear as dark brown spots on the skin that are either flat or raised. Most people have benign moles, which are harmless. Moles that become atypical (dyspastic nevi) can eventually become malignant melanoma (a form of skin cancer).

Causes
Benign moles develop from an excess accumulation of melanocytes. In rare cases, a benign mole, especially one that is large and varied, may turn into an atypical mole.

Risk Factors
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

Moles present at birth (this increases the likelihood of more moles later in life)
Family members who have moles
Excessive exposure to sunlight, especially sunburn

Symptoms
Most people have some benign moles that appear at birth, or during childhood or adolescence.

Benign moles, which can appear anywhere on the body, are usually:

Dark brown, but can also be yellow-brown or flesh tone
One color
Round or oval with distinct edges
Flat and smooth, but may occasionally become raised, rough, or change color over time

Signs that a mole may be atypical include:

Sudden change in size, color, shape, texture, or sensation
Large size (1/4 inch or more across—about the size of an eraser at the end of a pencil)
A mixture of colors, often including black
Irregular edges
Abnormal surface that is:
Scaling
Flaking
Oozing liquid
Bleeding
Open with a sore that won't heal
Hard and raised lump
Itchy, tender, or painful
Abnormally colored skin around it


Irregular Border on Mole



Copyright © 2004 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com


DiagnosisThe doctor will examine your skin and moles and ask about your symptoms and medical history.

Tests may include:

Biopsy – removal of all or part of the mole to be tested for cancer cells

Treatment
Benign moles do not need to be treated. However, surgery may be performed to remove those that are unsightly or irritated.

Treatment for atypical moles includes:

Surgery
Atypical moles that are cancerous or suspected of being cancerous can be removed surgically with local anesthesia. The mole tissue is examined under a microscope. If cancer cells are found, additional surgery is performed to remove any remaining portion of the mole and surrounding tissue.

PreventionTo help prevent benign moles from becoming atypical (and possibly cancerous):

Avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
Take proper precautions when in the sun:
Wear a hat and protective clothing.
Wear sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.

Sometimes there is no way to prevent a benign mole from becoming atypical or cancerous. The key to successful treatment is early detection. To detect atypical or cancerous moles early:

Monitor your moles, especially atypical moles.
Report any sudden changes in a mole to your doctor.
Have your doctor check and monitor atypical moles every 12 months. Have them checked more frequently (every 6 months) if you have:
A large number of atypical moles
A family history of atypical moles that develop into melanoma
Have an atypical mole removed if your doctor suggests it.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology
http://www.aad.org

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

Sources:

American Academy of Dermatology

The Merck Manual of Medical Information—Home Edition. Simon and Schuster, Inc.;2000.

National Cancer Institute

Medical Information
It is not the intention of Raptor-Pack to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Raptor-Pack urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions and specific medical advice


Wave

Hug

Diane



"I'd rather regret something I did, than regret never doing it at all"
 
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