Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Is a new mole a bad sign?"
I'm a woman in my late 20s and just developed a new mole on my upper chest. Should I be alarmed? It just came out of nowherer.
Moles (or nevi, as they are known in medical terminology) are collections of pigmented cells (melanocytes) that live in small clusters within the skin. These pigmented cells often form new moles over the course of an individual's lifespan, especially in the first several decades of life, usually in response to sun exposure and aging. Therefore, in and of itself a new mole is not a major cause for concern. However, moles do have a small risk over the life of an individual of transforming into melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer. Therefore, it is important always to pay close attention to the moles on your body and to alert your primary care doctor or your dermatologist if you notice any of the following worrisome signs: - moles which have an asymmetric border or color pattern - moles which have speckles of different colors within them rather than being a single color - moles that are greater than 6 mm in diameter - moles that change in appearance rapidly. Again, any of these findings requires prompt examination by a doctor, as the risk for it being melanoma in the presence of these findings goes up. Most unusual moles will be biopsied by your doctor to rule out melanoma.
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