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Mole and Melanoma


Melanoma is the most serious and aggressive skin cancer.

It accounts for 1-3% of all cancers in the Western population, the sixth most common cancer in men and the seventh most common cancer in women.

It can develop on healthy skin de novo or on a pre-existing mole.

The development of melanoma is prevented by self-examination of moles at regular intervals, sun protection and skin examination by a specialist physician.

Spots are any area exposed to the sun such as the trunk, face, upper and lower extremities, as well as the soles or palms.

Conversely, spots hidden by swimwear very rarely show melanoma.

The possibility of melanoma occurrence depends on factors such as reckless exposure to ultraviolet radiation, sunburns especially during childhood, phototype (skin type, hair and eye color) but also heredity (Dysplastic Mole Syndrome).

The rapid evolution of a mole and the suspicious changes in its characteristics are two points that need further evaluation by a specialist doctor.

When is a mole suspicious and what should we be concerned about?

A mole is considered suspicious (suspected of developing melanoma) when it shows a change in one of the following five places:

Points ABCDE (rule)

A= nevus asymmetry – change along one axis

B= irregular, indistinct boundaries

C=color change, variety of colors

D=diameter >6 mm


When and how should a suspicious mole be removed?

A mole is removed when it develops rapidly and its changes are characterized as suspicious. It is forbidden to remove the mole with laser or cryocoagulation. The mole is only surgically removed and the lesion examined histologically (biopsy).

People with many moles (or Dysplastic Mole Syndrome) and frequent sunburns are more likely to develop melanoma. Childhood burns are particularly to blame as the body seems to ‘remember’ and retaliate years later.

Dysplastic Mole Syndrome is characterized by the presence of 2 or more dysplastic moles. A mole that appears asymmetrical with varying color and irregular borders is characterized as dysplastic. Its evolution is slow over a period of years. People with DMS are considered to be at increased risk for developing melanoma and should be seen by a specialist more often than the rest of the population. Also of great importance is the monthly self-examination for early diagnosis and prevention.

In the early stages of melanoma, the disease is curable. Read more about moles.