Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Can one mole cause a cluster of moles to form?"

ZocdocAnswersCan one mole cause a cluster of moles to form?


I'm a concerned mother of a 18 year old girl, who has a mole on her back that seems to have grown out into a cluster of smaller moles. Is this even possible? It definitely doesn't look like a wart or anything of that nature, but I'm almost positive it's spreading. What should I do?


Moles, or nevi which is the technical medical term, are collections of pigmented cells, or melanocytes, that live under the skin. Moles are normal in all people, but they do sometimes carry a risk of transforming into melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer. Things that heighten the risk that a mole is becoming cancerous are as follows: if the mole is larger than 6 mm in diameter; if the mole is elevated; if the mole has irregular margins or is spreading; or if the mole has multiple colors inside of it. Based on these criteria, I would be worried that the mole your daughter has on her back is spreading. This requires evaluation as soon as possible by her primary care doctor or dermatologist to evaluate for the potential for melanoma. After a physical examination, if your doctor has some suspicion that the mole may be dangerous, they will want to remove the mole for biopsy to determine what is going on and to determine if further treatment will be needed. In the meantime, your daughter should protect her skin, avoiding tanning, and use sunscreen lotion whenever she is out in the sun.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.