NORMAL MOLE AND MELANOMA Marilyn Monroe Obviously isn't a good example of health or longevity, but any list of moles and sexy women would be incomplete without her famous beauty mark.
NORMAL MOLES are common small brown spots or growths on the skin that appear in the first few decades of life in almost everyone. They can be either flat or elevated and are generally round and regularly shaped. Many are caused by sun exposure. MELANOMA, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, most often appears as an asymmetrical, irregularly bordered, multicolored or tan/brown spot or growth that continues to increase in size over time. It may begin as a flat spot and become more elevated. In rare instances, it may not be pigment. “CLASSIC” ATYPICAL MOLE SYMDROM Some people are so affected by both normal and atypical moles that they are classified as having atypical mole syndrome. They are at exceptionally high risk of developing melanoma. People with “classic” atypical mole syndrome have the following three characteristics:
100 or more moles One or more moles 8 mm (1/3 inch) or larger in diameter One or more moles which are atypical.
At exceptionally high risk of developing melanoma are those with familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (FAMMM). These individuals not only have atypical mole syndrome, but also have one or more first or second-degree relatives with melanoma. While atypical moles often arise in childhood, they can appear at any time of life in people with FAMMM.
REMEMBER, ANY MOLE (PIGMENTED SPOT OR GROWTH) THAT UNDERGOES A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN SIZE, SHAPE, OR COLOR — OR THAT CAUSES SYMPTOMS OF ITCHING OR BLEEDING — SHOULD BE SUSPECTED OF BEING A MELANOMA.
GROWTH: Enlargement of a previously stable mole or appearance of a new mole after ages 35-40 should raise suspicion. SURFACE: Central portion often is raised, whereas the peripheral portion is usually flat, sometimes with tiny "pebbly" elevations. APPEARANCE: greatly varied; dysplastic nevi often look different from one another. NUMBER: From a few to well over 100 dysplastic nevi may be present. Having numerous moles, whether atypical or normal, is a risk factor for melanoma. Don't wait for moreserious warning signs of melanoma to appear, such as: o o o o o o o o o
ITCHING PAIN ELEVATION BLEEDING CRUSTING SWELLING OOZING ULCERATION BLUISH-BLACK COLOR