Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Nice to Mole You!

on June 27, 2011
How many moles do you have?
  On average, most people have at least 10 but less than 40 and most moles develop before age 20.  Although the number of moles you have is mostly genetic, exposure to sun can cause you to have more and darken ones you already have.
 Are your moles harmless?  It depends…
>Congenital Moles are present at birth and are at increased risk for skin cancer later in life.   Only 1% of people have this type of mole, ask your mom if she remembers that any of your current moles have been there since you were born.
>Acquired moles are the most common and usually develop during childhood or early adulthood. These moles are usually smaller than a quarter inch, and are thought to be due to excessive sun exposure. Most acquired moles will not develop into skin cancer.
>Atypical moles  are larger than a pencil eraser and shaped irregularly. These moles are usually uneven in color, with a dark brown center. The borders of atypical moles may be irregular, with a lighter or reddish color, and unevenness or black dots around the edge. Atypical moles tend to run in families and they may be at increased risk of developing into skin cancer.
Be sure to examine your skin regularly.  Some moles are in places you can’t see so you will need to get a mirror or a special someone to take a look around.  (please, wait until you are home to do this!)  Look for moles that fit into the atypical category or any new moles. If  you have a family history of atypical moles or skin cancer, or a large number of moles or freckles, your primary doctor may suggest that you see a dermatologist for regular skin evaluations.
Most moles are harmless, but getting any suspicious ones checked out quickly will enable you to detect skin cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.

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