Medical reports suggest that Melanoma, a form of skin cancer is on the rise among children and therefore it is not uncommon for parents to look suspiciously at normal, harmless moles on the bodies of their growing children. So, it becomes necessary for the parents to know what is a normal mole and what is an abnormal mole which could turn malignant.
Melanin is the pigment produced by melanocytes in the skin. This pigment is displayed strongly in the moles.
Thankfully , Melanoma is very rare in young children but it is necessary to know about the types of moles.
Generally speaking, moles are quite common in children and first appear as round,flat and even colored. They are the size of the diameter of a pencil. The common moles are symmetrical in that they develop evenly on all sides and as the child grows, the mole may protrude slightly above the skin. As the child enters adolescence, the moles may darken and as the child reaches adulthood and grows older the moles become light colored and less prominent. It is important to note that very few benign moles, if any, develop after 30 years of age.
Some children are born with distinct birthmarks or bruise like marks. Some congenital moles resemble common moles. As the child grows the mole tends to fade in color and size, which is quite normal. It is the large sized birthmark or mole which can later transform into malignant and cancerous cell. The giant mole is different from the common mole in that the diameter is about 20cm or more. Such giant moles or congenital nevus as they are called should be examined by the dermatologist to determine if it is benign or malignant. It is believed that the chances of developing melanoma is highest in the first five years. It is advisable to monitor the congenital nevus carefully for at least 10 years of a child’s life.
Atypical Moles or Dyplastic Moles
Dyplastic moles look very different from the common mole. They are asymmetrical, the color is uneven. The diameter may exceed 6mm. If the child has atypical moles he should be subjected to periodic medical checks, once the child enters puberty. This will help in ruling out the possibility of Melanoma.
There is another mole which resembles the melanoma and it becomes difficult for the dermatologist to determine whether it is benign or otherwise without a lab test. It resembles a lesion and appears raised and tends to ooze, The colors are normally pink but can also appear in black or brown colored lesions. Generally it appears up to the age of twenty and rarely after that in adults.
Signs to Watch Out for
If the moles exceed 5mm in size and the number of moles are numerous, more than 50 to 100, there are chances that some of these moles may turn malignant and cancerous. Poor immune system and prolonged exposure to sun can also affect the skin adversely and lead to skin cancer.
Familial Atypical Mole and Melanoma syndrome is seen in people who have close blood relatives suffering from Melanoma. And they have more than 50 moles and there are dyplastic moles too.
It is advisable to look for changes in skin color or patches which are different from the surrounding skin. Any itching, oozing or bleeding skin should be seen by the dermatologist for signs of melanoma.
Melanoma is rare in young children but with teenagers and slightly older children the risk of Melanoma is on the rise and parents need to take note and seek medical attention, if necessary.
Daniel is an expert who specializes in healthcare and dermatology. He provides many health websites with wonderful content. He also writes for RemoveSkinMoles, a website that contains comprehensive information on mole removal methods.