What does it mean to have an atypical mole?

A type of mole that looks different from a common mole. Several different types of moles are called atypical. Atypical moles are often larger than common moles and have regular or ragged or blurred borders that are not easy to see.

What percentage of atypical moles are cancerous?

The risk of an atypical mole becoming cancerous is about 1%, compared to . 03% for an ordinary mole. In addition to atypical moles, risk factors for developing melanoma include: Red or blond hair.

Are atypical moles always cancerous?

While atypical moles are considered to be pre-cancerous (more likely to turn into melanoma than regular moles), not everyone who has atypical moles gets melanoma.

Should an atypical mole be removed?

Atypical moles should be removed when they have features suggestive of malignant transformation. Elliptical excision is the preferred removal technique. Removing all atypical moles is neither necessary nor cost effective.

What percent of atypical moles become melanoma?

One study found that the risk of an atypical mole turning into melanoma over an individual’s lifetime is less than 0.1% for both men and women.

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Should I worry about atypical mole?

Yes. An atypical mole that is itching, painful, swelling, crusting or oozing should be checked immediately by a dermatologist or other physician experienced with skin disorders.

How can you tell if a mole is precancerous?

What Are the Signs of a Precancerous Mole?

  1. Asymmetry. A common mole is typically symmetrical. …
  2. Border. The borders of precancerous moles are often blurred. …
  3. Color. Whereas a common mole is one color, a precancerous mole is often a mixture of various colors like brown, black, red, or blue.
  4. Diameter. …
  5. Enlarging.

How can you tell the difference between atypical moles and melanoma?

Atypical moles are often larger than other nevi (> 6 mm diameter) and primarily round (unlike many melanomas) but with indistinct borders and mild asymmetry. In contrast, melanomas have greater irregularity of color and may have areas that are red, blue, whitish, or depigmented with a scarred appearance.

What percentage of dysplastic nevus becomes melanoma?

Patients with dysplastic nevi appear to have at least a 6 percent lifetime risk of melanoma. In the most severely affected patients (those with a family history of dysplastic nevi and more than one melanoma), the lifetime risk may exceed 50 percent. Patients with dysplastic nevi merit periodic follow-up.

What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?

Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.

How do you treat atypical moles?

If the biopsy shows a mildly or moderately atypical mole, and it has been removed fully, no further treatment is needed. Moles that are severely atypical under the microscope may need a slightly wider surgery to ensure that they do not grow back.

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Do atypical moles change over time?

Most types of atypical moles remain stable over time. Patients with five or more dysplastic nevi are 10 times more likely to develop melanoma than individuals with no atypical moles. The greater the number of dysplastic nevi on the body, the more likely the development of melanoma.

Can atypical moles be benign?

Atypical moles are benign pigmented lesions. Although they are benign, they exhibit some of the clinical and histologic features of malignant melanoma. They are more common in fair-skinned individuals and in those with high sun exposure.

How serious is dysplastic nevus?

Those diagnosed with dysplastic nevi have an excellent prognosis. However, if you have a history of dysplastic nevi you have a greater risk of developing melanoma in the future. Therefore, it is recommended that you have regular skin check-ups with your dermatologist.

How long does melanoma take to spread?

Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.

Can you have melanoma for years and not know?

How long can you have melanoma and not know it? It depends on the type of melanoma. For example, nodular melanoma grows rapidly over a matter of weeks, while a radial melanoma can slowly spread over the span of a decade. Like a cavity, a melanoma may grow for years before producing any significant symptoms.

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