Franklin_-108Moles are very common and are also known as nevi.  Moles are often brown, can be flat or raised, and can be round or oval.  The color in moles is produced by melanocytes.  Sun exposure increases the number of moles and can darken their color.  Although most moles are harmless, certain moles known as dysplastic moles have a higher than average risk of developing into a dangerous form of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma.  The risk of developing melanoma may be increased by sunburns; family history of melanoma also increases an individual’s risks.

We recommend patients use sunscreens on a regular basis, and perform routine self-examinations, looking for changes in the color, size or shape of their moles and the appearance of new and suspicious moles.  If a mole itches, changes suddenly in shape or color, or starts bleeding, you should come in immediately for a professional skin examination.