Is a Raised Mole Cancerous? All You Need to know About Raised Moles

Raised Mole

Moles are localized pigmented lesions on the body. They are also known as pigmented nevi or melanocytic nevi. On an average, the number of moles may vary from 10 to 40 in an adult.

A mole can be a flat mole or a raised mole based on their presence in the skin layer. The moles have a consistent size and color.

Having flat moles or raised moles on your body doesn’t necessarily indicate any serious health condition. However, if a flat mole turns into a raised mole or changes its color or size, you should take medical advice.

Also Read: Pimple on Lip: 10 Causes and Natural Treatments

Characteristics of a Raised Mole

Your skin has three layers- the uppermost known as dermis, then the epidermis and the lowermost hypodermis.

According to DermNetNZ, raised moles form as a result of the local proliferation of melanocytes (skin cell) between dermis and epidermis, which gives them the raised appearance.

They are also known as compound nevi or dermal nevi. A raised mole can be circular or oval in shape. Their size varies from few millimeters to few centimeters in diameter. The raised moles have a definite outline and a specific color.

Raised moles are mostly brown, skin colored, or pinkish in appearance. Moles can be present at the birth, or they can grow during infancy.

What Type of Mole is Harmful?

Moles are harmless, but they can turn into serious ones in a short period. Therefore, it is important to check your skin when you spot the new moles on your skin. You should consult with a dermatologist when you notice any changes in the existing moles.

If the mole grows in size or changes its color, then it may be a cause of concern. To check your moles regularly, you should follow the ABCDE method. It stands for Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color change, Diameter, and Enlargement.

1. Asymmetry

Asymmetry stands for change in the shape of your mole. Normal moles have a definite border and are usually round or oval. Any deviation from the regular shape may be a sign of harmful mole.

2. Border Irregularity

Border irregularity stands for irregular border or outline. The normal mole has a smooth, consistent appearance which merges with the surrounding skin. If the consistent outline looks uneven, it’s turning into a severe skin condition.

3. Color Change

Color change refers to change in the color of a regular mole. A mole has varied colors like brown, black, pink or red. Harmful mole represents a change from the original color to a more darker color.

4. Diameter

Any mole size bigger than that of a pencil eraser can be a sign of a bad mole.

5. Enlargement

When the color, shape or size of the mole changes, and if the mole starts itching or bleeding, it can be melanoma.

How to Know If the Mole is Cancerous?

Moles can be benign or malignant. Benign moles are not cancerous while malignant ones are. By evaluating the ABCDE signs, you can know if the raised mole is cancerous or not.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Benign melanoma is what forms the moles whereas malignant melanoma is one that poses a risk.

Malignant melanoma can develop in different ways. In some cases, melanoma can grow as a new spot on your skin. Your existing raised mole can also become malignant. Therefore, it is advised to get your skin checked by a professional dermatologist.

Signs of Cancerous Moles

To know whether a raised mole is malignant or not, a check according to the ABCDE method is the proper way. As we discussed, if the symmetry of the mole is changing, it can be an uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells.

Similarly, the consistent border and color of your mole should not change. In the case of melanoma, moles become darker in color and borders become indefinite.

Due to such uncontrolled growth of cells, the size or diameter of your mole increases. Your mole will start itching and may start to bleed.

Removing the Raised Mole

The raised mole may be a normal mole, or it may be harmful. Most raised moles are harmless. There is no treatment needed unless they start growing malignant or disturbing your appearance.

People remove the raised moles due to cosmetic reasons, and your dermatologist can help you with that. In most cases, dermatologist cuts your mole after applying some local anesthetics. For the cut to heal, stitches are taken to close the wound area.

If your mole is showing abnormal growth, the cut tissues will be sent for examinations to identify the cause. The cut given by doctor depends upon its size, shape, and location on the body.

Raised moles can be removed by using home remedies as well. To remove the raised mole naturally, apply —

  • Garlic paste
  • Pineapple juice
  • Castor oil
  • Honey

The results may vary depending on the size and type of moles. Home remedies for raised moles take some time to show the results.

When to See a Doctor?

Although melanoma or skin cancer cases are one percent among all cancer types, majority melanoma cases are fatal. Hence, you must monitor any suspicious changes in your raised mole.

Educating yourself about bad mole vs. good mole will help in early diagnosis of melanoma. It will help doctors to treat you better.

If you see a raised mole appearing on your skin once you cross 30 or your pre-existing mole starts itching, bleeding or becomes painful, you must consult your dermatologist.

If you have a family history of skin cancer, you must be vigilant about any new changes on your skin.

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Madhvi Bhosale, Microbiologist

Madhvi Bhosale is a microbiologist (M.Sc.) and has experience of research in the field of molecular biology of malarial parasite P.falciparum. She has contributed in the research about P. falciparum epigenome. With the background of research about microbial diseases, she aspire to write health related articles which can help the readers to be aware and stay healthy. She also writes biology educational contents and story boards. With her creative mind, she produces a clear and refined audio-visual biology concepts. The sound knowledge of microbiology enables her to contribute significantly in writing all-inclusive health articles.