Moles consist of cells that produce the melanocyte pigment, which gives the skin its color. They may be present from birth or may appear later. Some moles can be aesthetically disturbing. However, moles that can carry a risk for skin cancer can be vital.
Moles can be brown, black or the color of the skin itself. The surface may be smooth as well as fluffy, and there may be hairs on it. Sometimes it is seen to be large enough to cover a large part of the body. On average, it is normal to have 10-20 brown moles in an adult. Moles that develop later can change shape and color over the years without any risk.
Melanoma, one of the most common cancers, is formed by abnormal proliferation of melanocytes. So melanoma is a type of skin cancer associated with moles. This type is also the most serious and rapidly progressing type of cancer. Sun rays, defined as ultraviolet rays, have a role in the formation of this type of cancer. In this respect, it is important not to go out in the sun during the hours when the sun is steep and to provide appropriate protection against the harmful effects of these rays at other times. Sunburns, especially childhood burns, are risky in this respect.
Apart from ultraviolet, the fact that moles are open to impacts and constant irritation can also pave the way for cancer. In this respect, moles in places such as knees and elbows should be followed more carefully. If the risk cannot be eliminated, the mole can be removed as a precaution.
Change in moles
In case of rapid color, shape change or redness, itching, dandruff, swelling in moles, it is necessary to see a dermatologist immediately.
People with irregular appearance and large moles have a higher risk of melanoma. Therefore, such moles should be followed and removed if necessary. Melanoma may arise on a pre-existing mole, or it may present itself similarly to a mole from the outset.
In addition to the examination, a device called a dermatoscope is used, which allows the structures inside to be seen by magnifying several times. Some abnormalities in moles can be detected early with this instrument before they are visible to the naked eye. In the examination with the naked eye and dermatoscope, if there is a mole that raises the suspicion of melanoma, it is removed and sent for pathological examination for definitive diagnosis. With digital dermatoscopic examination, moles can be recorded and used for comparison at the next control. This method can be preferred especially in people with multiple moles that are difficult to follow.
Moles that need to be followed, not removed, should be followed by a dermatologist. In our clinic, I follow up with a computerized dermatoscopy device.