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"Can white patches to form around moles?"


Can white patches form around moles? If they do, is that a sign of disease? I'm a 34 year old woman with a family history of skin cancer, and I can't tell for sure if two moles on my neck have white patches spreading around them, but it looks like it and I'm being vigilant.


Moles are a common skin concern. The doctors who will be best qualified to discuss this with you include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. Moles (or nevi) are small collections of pigmented skin cells.

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Rarely, moles can transform into melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. The major warning signs to look for are: size greater than 6 mm, irregular borders or changing texture or elevation, multiple colorations, or asymmetric growth. It is unlikely the changes you describe fall into this category, but it is likely worth getting checked out. Other causes of white patches on the next unrelated to the moles might include an allergic skin reaction, or dermatitis, either to a chemical exposure such as a new soap or sometimes a reaction to sunlight. Furthermore, sometimes fungal infections of the skin, known as tinea versicolor, can present as light patchy areas of skin on the neck, back, and chest. Sometimes they are itchy. Rarely, psoriasis or some other general medical condition can present with small, isolated areas of scaling and color changes of the skin. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your particular skin concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor or your dermatologist is recommended.

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