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Cancerous Moles in Children

Cancerous Moles in Children

Moles in children are usually not something to worry about as most of them are benign. However, it is necessary for parents to be aware of cancerous moles. This article provides a brief information on cancerous moles in children.
Mayuri Kulkarni
Moles on children's skin are normal, and in childhood many of them get moles on skin. These skin moles grow with the age of the child and may get dark or light with time. Usually, these moles are benign (harmless); however, not all moles are harmless as they can be cancerous too.

What are Cancerous Moles
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer whose one of the symptoms is cancerous moles on skin. There are certain factors that increase the risk of getting melanoma. These include number of moles on skin, exposure to sun, and genetics. Melanoma is a very serious type of skin cancer, and the treatment of this disease becomes difficult on late diagnosis.

Risk Factors
Number of researches and studies have proved a direct relation with large number of moles to the increased risk of melanoma. Thus, if parents find that their child has very abnormal increased count of moles, it's better to consult a dermatologist at the earliest. Moles that are larger than 5-6 millimeters should not be neglected as they can be cancerous. Other factors that increase the risk of melanoma in children are susceptibility to sunburn, poor immune system, genetics, etc. If any of the child's relative has had melanoma, the child is also at a higher risk of getting melanoma. Some melanoma patients had more than 100 moles on their body.

Usually, moles that are present on the child's skin since birth, turn out to be malignant. Thus, parents should keep a constant watch on features of such moles. There are several types of moles that can be present on a child's body. Awareness and identification of these moles can help parents know the type of mole their child is having.

Following are some common types of moles:

Congenital Mole
Congenital mole is the one that exists since birth. These can be called birthmarks and are usually harmless. But, if the size of this congenital mole is too large, then it can cause risk of melanoma. The presence of such giant mole can increase the risk of melanoma by almost 10 percent. Thus, when such mole is observed in a newborn, a dermatologist should be consulted at the earliest.

Common Mole
These are usually referred as beauty marks and develop during the childhood. They are symmetric and may become faint as the child grows. They are non-cancerous and are present on skin areas that are exposed to sun. These moles usually do not pose any problem, but if they bleed, itch, or cause any discomfort, they should be examined by a dermatologist. Their diameter is less than a pencil.

Dysplastic Mole
These are also called atypical moles. They are not symmetrical as common moles are. These can be in folded form and have irregular borders. These moles usually contain more than one color, and their diameter may be greater than 6 millimeters. If your child has such a mole, he/she should be examined regularly after his/her puberty.

Spitz Nevus
This mole resembles the melanoma mole very closely. Thus, many a time, it becomes difficult for the dermatologist to diagnose whether it is a melanoma mole or a spitz nevus. These moles can be red, brown, or black in color and are dome-shaped. Sometimes, this mole bleeds. Any mole that looks like spitz nervus should be shown to the dermatologist immediately.

Cancerous Moles - What do they look like?
These moles are usually asymmetrical, have irregular border, contain more than one color, can be itchy, and their diameter is more than 5 millimeters. Here is a checklist of symptoms that parents should look for when they come across moles on their child's body. If any of the following condition is not observed in the mole, then consult a doctor immediately:
  • Check out for diameter of the mole. It should not be more than 5mm.
  • The mole should be symmetrical in shape.
  • The mole should have regular borders and edges.
  • The color of the mole should be same throughout.
  • The elevation of the mole should not change.
Extreme exposure to sunlight is also one of the reasons of developing melanoma. Therefore, ensure that you cover your child's body completely when he/she goes out. Use of sunscreen lotions is one of the best preventive measures. The number of melanoma cases are rising day by day, especially in small children. Thus, any suspicious mole on your child's skin should not be neglected and a dermatologist should be consulted soon.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.