ZocdocAnswersIf I have a large mole does it mean that I will have skin cancer?

Question

If I have a large mole does it mean that I will have skin cancer?

I have had this huge mole on my thigh since I was a kid. Does it mean that it will turn into skin cancer because it is so big? What if I get it taken off? If it is removed can I still get skin cancer?

Answer

There are many different types of skin cancer, most of which do not originate from moles. The most common types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. These types do not originate from moles. Melanoma is the only type of skin cancer that can originate from moles. As it turns out, melanoma is one of the more aggressive forms of all cancers, making regular checks of suspicious moles an important part of your health. There are several aspects of a mole that doctors use doctors use to determine if a mole is suspicious and could be a melanoma. First, is how long the mole has been there. The fact that your mole has been there since you were a kid is a good thing, because new moles are more likely to be suspicious. Other factors that are important are a moles size, its symmetry, its color, and how sharp its borders are. The factor that may make your mole more worrisome is its size. If your mole is greater than 1 cm in diameter, then your doctor may decide to recommend that it be removed. The best physician for you to see about this mole is a dermatologist. The dermatologist can examine the mole and determine if a biopsy or full removal is necessary.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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