Melanoma is the main complication of moles. Some people have a higher than average risk of their moles becoming cancerous and developing into melanoma. Factors that increase your risk of melanoma include:
Dec. 06, 2014
- Being born with large moles. These types of moles are called congenital nevi. On an infant, such moles are classified as large if they're more than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter. Even a large mole seldom becomes cancerous and almost never before the child reaches puberty.
- Having unusual moles. Moles that are bigger than a common mole and irregular in shape are known as atypical (dysplastic) nevi. They tend to be hereditary. And they often have dark brown centers and lighter, uneven borders.
- Having many moles. Having more than 50 ordinary moles on your body indicates an increased risk of melanoma. Two recent studies add to the evidence that the number of your moles predict cancer risk. One showed that people with 20 or more moles on their arms are at increased risk of melanoma. Another showed a relationship between the number of women's moles and breast cancer risk.
- Having a family history of melanoma. Some types of atypical moles lead to a genetic form of melanoma.
- Moles. MedlinePlus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/moles.html. Accessed Sept. 10, 2014.
- Argenziano G, et al. Twenty nevi on the arms: A simple rule to identify patients younger than 50 years of age at higher risk for melanoma. European Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2014;23:458.
- Wise J. Number of moles could predict breast cancer risk. BMJ. 2014;348:g3739. http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g3739.full.print? Accessed Sept. 10, 2014.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=392. Accessed Sept. 10, 2014.
- Prevention guidelines. Skin Cancer Foundation. http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines. Accessed Sept. 10, 2014.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 19, 2014.
- What does a mole look like? National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/prevention/skin/molephotos. Accessed Sept. 10, 2014.
- Common moles, dysplastic nevi, and risk of melanoma. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/moles. Accessed Sept. 10, 2014.
- Hawryluk EB, et al. Pediatric melanoma, moles, and sun safety. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2014;61:279.
- Sunscreens. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens#.UbdQaJzm9lP. Accessed Nov. 20, 2014.
- FDA sheds light on sunscreens. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm258416.htm. Accessed Nov. 20, 2014.
- Moles in children: What parents should know. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/skincancernet/moles_children.html. Accessed Sept. 10, 2014.
- What you need to know about melanoma and other skin cancers. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/skin. Accessed Sept. 12, 2014.
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 12, 2014.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 12, 2014.
- Skin examinations. SkinCancerNet. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/skincancernet/skin_examinations.html. Accessed Sept. 12, 2014.
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