Moles are brown or black spots that can appear anywhere on the skin. Skin moles are caused by skin growing in clusters, instead of spreading out. In most cases, skin moles are harmless, but sometimes they become cancerous.
Most people get skin moles in early childhood and it develop all through early adulthood. A person can have up to 40 moles by the time they are an adult.
READ ALSO: Skin Cancer in Children (Pediatric Melanoma)
Moles can change in color, shape, and size. It can become raised, or grow hairs. In some cases moles never change. Some moles slowly disappear on their own without any form of treatment. All these behaviors are considered normal if they happen gradually and over many years.
Causes of itchy moles
Though most moles are not cancerous, but the ones that are cancerous will appear quite different from others on the body, including those present before young adulthood.
Itchy moles could be caused by using new products, including soaps, detergents, or lotions. An itchy mole could be caused by a work chemical that has touched the skin.
READ ALSO: What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?
People with itchy moles should have them checked by a doctor even if they know the cause. An itchy mole can be a sign of skin cancer or melanoma, in rare cases.
Differentiating Normal Moles From Abnormal Moles
- They are usually small, round spots
- They are coloured brown or black
- They are either elevated or flat
- They appear proportionate
- color and spots are not uniform
- recently altered its form
- borders or edges that are uneven
- more than one color or shape
- a size larger than a pencil eraser
- any change from how it used to be
Skin cancers that cause itching
Anyone with a mole that itches, oozes, bleeds, or has changed from normal to abnormal, should have it examined out by a dermatologist.
Melanoma is one of the most common skin cancers in Caucasians. African-Americans can be affected by this skin cancer, but the chances are lower. The risk of melanoma increases with age, with 63 years of age being the average for diagnosis.
However anyone, regardless of how old they are, can be diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma is one of the most serious skin cancers, so it is crucial to watch out for the symptoms.
A changed mole is the first sign that something might be wrong. Additional skin symptoms may be sores that refuses to heal, changes in (colour, spreading, or swelling), to the nearby skin, itchiness, tenderness, or pain in the mole or surrounding skin.
Melanoma can also occur in the eyes and cause dark spots in the iris, blurry vision, or loss of sight. The iris of the eye is the thin, round structure that controls the size and span of the pupil, and the amount of light entering to the retina.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), is one of the most common types of skin cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It can be cured if detected early. It is also the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S. It grows in places that get a lot of sun exposure, such as the face and neck.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), is the second most common type of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. SCC is caused by abnormal cell growth, arising from the squamous cells or cells that cover most the skin’s upper layers.
SCC appears as scaly red patches, elevated patches, and open sores on a person’s skin. SCC can be cured if detected early. However, it can metastasize to nearby lymph nodes, tissues, and organs, if left untreated. This can be deadly.
Changes in color, size, or shape of moles, should be examined by an expert. Also, moles that itch, bleed, are tender, or painful should equally be checked by a doctor.
Most moles cause no symptoms and do not need treatment. But moles that are itchy, painful, large or suspicious for cancers, should be removed.
There are two ways to remove moles, and both methods are considered safe.
The two ways suspicious moles can be removed are:
- Surgical excision: In this procedure, the affected area is numbed, after which the mole is removed and the skin closed with stiches. The mole is then examined under a microscope to check for abnormalities or cancer cells.
- Surgical shave: This procedure is done if moles are small. The area is numbed, and a small blade is used to remove the elevated part of the mole. Stitches are not needed for shaving. Again, the sample of tissue is examined to look for cancer and other irregularities.