Will my moles turn into melanoma?

Melanoma arising from a preexisting mole. Photo from Regional Dermatology.

The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology recently published a study from Italy reviewing the medical literature over the last 60 years regarding melanomas growing from existing moles (nevi). The Italian group reviewed 38 studies and found that 29.1% of melanomas had grown from existing moles (nevus-associated melanomas) and 70.9% of melanomas are new lesions (aka de novo melanoma) and, in general, nevus-associated melanomas were found in patients younger than those with de novo melanomas.

If you have moles of concern what should you do?

– do self skin exams and identify your existing moles

– photograph your moles from a distance (1-2 feet) and close up (2- 3 inches) or there are devices and apps you can buy to monitor your moles

– every 3-6 months look at your photos and compare for changes or new moles

If you notice any changes or new moles please see your dermatology provider, preferably trained in dermoscopy, and they can inform you right away if a skin biopsy is necessary.

Meanwhile, enjoy the great outdoors but practice sun protection!