ZocdocAnswersHow do pigmentation and a nevus differ?

Question

How do pigmentation and a nevus differ?

My eye doctor just told me that I have a ""nevus"", which I don't exactly understand. What is the difference between having a 'nevus' in your eye, and just having a spot of excessive pigmentation? She also mentioned that there is a risk of cancer - how likely is that?

Answer

"Nevus" is the technical medical word that is commonly called 'mole' in every day English. A nevus is simply a collection of pigmented cells, called melanocytes, below the skin of the body or the external lining of the eye. Therefore, there is no difference at all between having a 'nevus' and having a 'spot of excessive pigmentation' as they are exactly the same thing. Although almost all nevi are benign, rarely they can transform into melanoma, a serious form of cancer. Therefore any nevus that has irregular borders, that is growing rapidly, that has elevation, that has multiple colors in it or that is large in size should be evaluated closely to make sure that it is not a melanoma. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor might be advised.

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

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