Most moles occur in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. They are due to abnormal collection of pigment producing cells known as melanocytes in the skin. Most moles are dark and pigmented but some moles may be lightly pigmented or may even be flesh coloured.
Moles are small (< 5mm) fl at and pigmented when they appear but the clinical appearance changes with the life cycle of the mole. With advancing age, they become raised and dome-shaped and often appear lighter. These changes do not signify cancerous changes and except for cosmetic concerns, do not require removal.
Occasionally, changed moles may be a cause for concern if they develop irregular border, bleeding or sudden increase in size and you should consult a dermatologist. Moles are often removed on cosmetic grounds. The choice of treatment is surgical excision.
The mole may be sent for histological examination for confirmation of diagnosis or to rule out an atypical mole or cancer. After excision, there will be stitches in place which will be removed after 7 to 14 days, depending on the site of the mole. The mole will be replaced by a line scar.
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