Can you prevent moles or are they hereditary?
Mole development is mostly determined by genes. Some families are more prone to developing them either from birth, or later in life. Preventing moles from developing is, therefore, very difficult. Sun exposure does, however, play a role, and it is thought that excessive exposure to the sun can promote the development of moles. Although sunscreens will be unlikely to completely prevent the development of moles, they are very important in preventing sun damage, which can lead to skin cancers, a far worse problem compared to moles.
Are moles dangerous in any way?
No, true moles are not dangerous. Unless they are irritated or stick to clothing, there isn't any reason to remove them, outside of cosmetic concerns. The only concern is that moles can resemble melanoma at its early stage, and that melanoma can develop inside the moles. In its early stages, melanoma can resemble the surrounding moles, which can delay diagnosis. Although dermatologists can diagnose melanoma, patients will need to be educated enough to be concerned and visit a dermatologist first.
How do I distinguish between moles and melanoma?
The ABCDEs are warning signs of melanoma, and help distinguish melanoma from harmless moles. Note that not all melanomas will show all 5 signs. These are all signs that point out a mole may be suspicious. If you notice any of these signs, visit a doctor and have your mole checked.
- A: Asymmetry in the skin lesion’s color, shape or borders
- B: Border that is irregular with boundaries that are unclear
- C: Color-multiple colors often with some faded areas
- D: Diameter-moles are not very likely to grow larger than 6mm
- E: Evolving-constant change of the lesion, especially noticeable enlarging
Should I remove all my moles to be safe?
This is usually not an option that is reasonable, considering the average number of moles that people have. It is very common for people to have 30 to 50 moles. Removal requires time, money, and will often leave minor scarring. Melanomas are dangerous and we would all do well to watch out for warning signs, but there is no need to be paranoid about them. Checking your moles with a mirror or having a partner check your moles once a month, in addition to a yearly skin check by your dermatologist, would greatly reduce the risk of missing a melanoma until it has grown dangerous.
What should I do with my moles from a medical standpoint?
Most moles are best left alone. They are not dangerous, and are rarely too problematic from a cosmetic standpoint either. Many cultures find beauty spots to be a pleasing feature.
Is mole removal covered under medical insurance?
With certain exceptions, mole removal is considered to be a cosmetic/elective procedure, and is therefore not covered under medical insurance. If there is a concern that the mole is malignant or atypical, the removal procedure will be considered medical, and thus covered by most insurance policies. This is a general guideline, however, and every policy is different. For specifics, you should check your specific policy to see if it is covered.
Are there any risks involved in mole removal?
Mole removal procedures are generally safe. As with any surgical procedure, some amount of scarring is to be expected, as are minor pain and redness. In terms of unwanted side-effects, infections and allergic reactions to the anesthetic or wound-care products are low, but possible risks.
*Source: Skin Care Guide