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Aging and moles.

Dear Dr. SerVaas,

Are new brown moles a natural part of aging? Should they be examined or left alone?

Kent Clair Chamberlain

Ashland, Oregon

Dermatology expert Dr. William Beeson provides the following good information:

"A melanocytic nevus, or mole, is a brown or black area on the skin that is usually smaller than the size of an eraser tip of a pencil. It is the result of an accumulation of pigment cells (melanocytes) in the more superficial layers of the skin and is benign (noncancerous). On average, people have approximately 30 nevi on their body and most are congenital (present at birth) or develop during puberty.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"While melanocytic nevi are benign and do not need to be removed, unusual or irregular-looking nevi should be evaluated by your physician to rule out a skin cancer known as malignant melanoma. Melanomas are more common in people who have over 50 nevi, a history of prior severe sunburns, and a family history for melanoma.

"Malignant melanoma is distinguished from a benign nevus by using the ABCD criteria: Asymmetry (one half of the lesion is different than the other); Border irregularity; Color (lesion has multiple colors or hues); Diameter (usually over 6 mm in size or larger than the size of a pencil eraser)."

Post contributing editor and inventor Paul SerVaas has developed photo stickers to monitor skin lesions for growth or color change. Each sheet contains 80 stickers. Interested readers may send $10 for ten sheets (includes p&h) or $1 per sheet + $2 p&h to MERF, P.O. Box 576, Indianapolis, IN 46206.
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Title Annotation:MEDICAL MAILBOX
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:264
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