A mole or nevus is a dark, raised spot on our skin comprised of skin cells that have grown in a group rather than individually. These cells are called melanocytes and are responsible for producing melanin, the pigment (color) in our skin.
There are several skin lesions that are very common and benign (non-cancerous). These conditions include moles, freckles, skin tags, benign lentigines, and seborrheic keratoses.
Moles are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups.
Most moles appear in early childhood and during the first 25 years of a person's life. It is normal to have between 10-40 moles by adulthood.
Everyone should self-monitor all of their moles every three months, and this can be done at home using the ‘ABCDE’ technique:
A) Asymmetry: Look for moles that are asymmetrical in shape, where one half of the mole is unlike the other
B) Irregular Border: Does the mole have an irregular border? Is it scalloped, jagged or poorly defined?
C) Irregular Colour: Is the colour of the mole different from one area to another or does it have different shades of tan, brown or black?
D) Diameter: Check the diameter of the mole to see if it is bigger than 6mm (about the size of the end of a pencil)
E) Evolution: Is the mole evolving or changing size, shape or colour?
Any new or changing moles should be seen by your G.P.