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Diseases » Mole » Wikipedia

Mole in Wikipedia

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mole (skin marking)". (Source - Retrieved 2006-09-07 14:00:00 from


A mole or melanocytic naevus is a small, dark spot on the skin. It can be either subdermal (composed of melanin), or a pigmented growth on the skin, formed mostly of melanocytes. The high concentration of melanin is responsible for their dark color. They are a member of the family of skin lesions known as naevi.

Moles may either be present at birth or develop later in life. Acquired moles are a form of benign neoplasm, while congenital moles are considered a minor malformation, or hamartoma. Moles are most often of no medical consequence, but since they are permanent, removal may be performed for cosmetic or other reasons. Moles are usually circular or oval and not very large. Most children are born with moles, and almost everyone has at least one or two moles on their bodies. Large amounts can be concentrated on the back, the chest and arms.

Some scientists suspect that overexposure to ultraviolet light (including excessive sunlight) may play a role in the forming acquired moles, but more research is needed in this area.

Dysplastic nevi or atypical mole syndrome is a hereditary condition which causes the person to have a large quantity of moles (often 100 or more) with some of them larger than normal and/or atypical. This leads to a higher risk of melanoma, a serious skin cancer. A slight majority of melanomas do not form in an existing mole, but rather create a new growth on the skin. Nevertheless, those with dysplastic nevi are at a higher risk of even this type of melanoma. Such persons need to be checked regularly for any changes in their moles (and to note any new ones).


The number of moles on a person's body appears to be hereditary. This applies also to their color and shape.

According to some people, moles may enhance or detract from a person's beauty. The number and location of moles generally determines their effect on beauty. A large mole on the tip of the nose would likely be considered to detract from beauty, while a small mole on the cheek or near the lips may appear quite attractive. Attractive moles on the face are usually referred to as beauty marks.

Note that while the removal of a skin mole for cosmetic enhancement can be performed, scar tissue is unavoidable; keloid scarring can also occur, but is unlikely to be as noticeable as the original mole as a scar fades with time.

Health caution

Sudden and unexpected changes in skin moles (e.g. bleeding, irritation, darkening, sudden growth or change in shape) can be a sign of skin cancer, so monitoring for these factors is advised. If a mole appears suspicious, it can be biopsied and checked for signs of malignancy. Skin moles that appear to be suspect may be removed preemptively, which is usually performed while using a local anaesthetic.

See also


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