Can moles on human body be removed or do they disappear in due course of time?

P. HABEEB RAHMAN

Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Moles are a member of the family of skin lesions known as nevi. A mole is a non-cancerous (benign) skin lesion that is made up of the colour-producing (pigment-producing) cells of the skin (melanocytes).

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the majority of moles appear during the first two decades of a person's life, while about one in every 100 babies is born with moles.

A mole that is present at birth is referred to as a congenital nevus. A mole can be either under the skin or a pigmented growth on the skin, formed mostly of a type of cell known as a melanocyte. A dysplastic nevus is a mole in which unusual growth is noted.

Moles slowly enlarge evenly in all directions. After moles stop growing , they may persist or they may become smaller later in life. Sun exposure and family tendency (heredity) play a role in the development of moles. Moles may sometimes become warm or red in colour (inflamed) or irritated by friction from rubbing or contact with rough clothing or by other types of injury.

Non-cancerous (benign) moles do not require treatment, though they may be cosmetically removed.

If benign-appearing moles are inflamed or irritated, they can be surgically removed.

If a dermatologist believes a mole needs to be evaluated further or removed entirely, he or she will either remove the entire mole, or first take just a small tissue sample of the mole to examine thin sections of the tissue under a microscope (a biopsy). This is a simple procedure. (If the dermatologist thinks the mole might be cancerous, cutting through the mole will not cause the cancer to spread.)

If the mole is found to be cancerous, and only a small section of tissue was taken, the dermatologist will remove the entire mole by cutting out the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it, and stitching the wound closed.

Dr. (Capt.) K.U. VINODAN

Thrissur, Kerala.