29 doctors weighed in:
Is a mole always a sign that a skin cancer will develop?
29 doctors weighed in

Dr. Mike Bowman
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery
5 doctors agree
In brief: Nope
Most moles are not cancerous, and will not turn into cancer.
Melanomas are dangerous, and can look like a mole. Watch for moles w/ abcd's: a-asymmetry; b-irregular borders; c-different colors; d-diameber >6mm (size of pencil eraser). If you notice a mole like that, get it checked out asap. Any skin lesion which is growing, ulcerating, bleeding, or otherwise changing, get seen as well.

In brief: Nope
Most moles are not cancerous, and will not turn into cancer.
Melanomas are dangerous, and can look like a mole. Watch for moles w/ abcd's: a-asymmetry; b-irregular borders; c-different colors; d-diameber >6mm (size of pencil eraser). If you notice a mole like that, get it checked out asap. Any skin lesion which is growing, ulcerating, bleeding, or otherwise changing, get seen as well.
Dr. Mike Bowman
Dr. Mike Bowman
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Dr. Rebecca Tennant
Family Medicine
4 doctors agree
In brief: No
Most moles are never going to turn into cancer. In fact, there is some new evidence that people with many moles actually age more slowly! some moles, however, do indicate cancer or are precancerous.
Be familiar with and aware of the skin all over your body so that if you have a new or changing mole, you can bring it to your doctor's attention.

In brief: No
Most moles are never going to turn into cancer. In fact, there is some new evidence that people with many moles actually age more slowly! some moles, however, do indicate cancer or are precancerous.
Be familiar with and aware of the skin all over your body so that if you have a new or changing mole, you can bring it to your doctor's attention.
Dr. Rebecca Tennant
Dr. Rebecca Tennant
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Dr. M. Christine Lee
Dermatology
3 doctors agree
In brief: No
Many moles are benign and will never develop into a skin cancer.
The problem is sometimes they do so it's important to do monthly self exam on your entire body (scalp can be a bit difficult) and to have a specialist check your skin regularly especially if you have many large atypical appearing moles. Look for new lesions or changes in pre-existing lesions.

In brief: No
Many moles are benign and will never develop into a skin cancer.
The problem is sometimes they do so it's important to do monthly self exam on your entire body (scalp can be a bit difficult) and to have a specialist check your skin regularly especially if you have many large atypical appearing moles. Look for new lesions or changes in pre-existing lesions.
Dr. M. Christine Lee
Dr. M. Christine Lee
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Dr. Travis Kidner
Surgery - Oncology
2 doctors agree
In brief: ABCD's
Remember your abcd's when thinking of melanoma.
Look for moles with asymmetry boarders that are irregular color differences within the same mole diameter greater than 6mm also any new mole or old that starts to itch, bleed or ulcerate should be of concern. Another rule is the ugly duckling rule. Which refers to a mole that looks distantly different from the others on your body.

In brief: ABCD's
Remember your abcd's when thinking of melanoma.
Look for moles with asymmetry boarders that are irregular color differences within the same mole diameter greater than 6mm also any new mole or old that starts to itch, bleed or ulcerate should be of concern. Another rule is the ugly duckling rule. Which refers to a mole that looks distantly different from the others on your body.
Dr. Travis Kidner
Dr. Travis Kidner
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Dr. Karen Han
Dermatology
2 doctors agree
In brief: No
Most moles are benign.
Studies have shown that the more sun exposure you've had, the more acquired moles you will get; the more moles you have, the higher risk of developing malignant melanoma. However, most melanomas do not develop in pre-existing moles, though they are good mimics. This highlights the importance of routine self and md skin checks. See the following link: http://www.Aad.Org/skin-conditions/skin-cancer-detection/about-skin-self-exams/how-to-examine-your-skin.

In brief: No
Most moles are benign.
Studies have shown that the more sun exposure you've had, the more acquired moles you will get; the more moles you have, the higher risk of developing malignant melanoma. However, most melanomas do not develop in pre-existing moles, though they are good mimics. This highlights the importance of routine self and md skin checks. See the following link: http://www.Aad.Org/skin-conditions/skin-cancer-detection/about-skin-self-exams/how-to-examine-your-skin.
Dr. Karen Han
Dr. Karen Han
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Dr. M. Christine Lee
Dermatology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No
Some moles have greater risk of turning into a skin cancer such as dysplastic nevi (abnormal moles which are considered "precancerous") or moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser (greater than 5 mm).
It's important to survey your own moles on a regular basis so you can detect any change (size, shape, color, hurting or bleeding) which should then be brought to your doctor's attention.

In brief: No
Some moles have greater risk of turning into a skin cancer such as dysplastic nevi (abnormal moles which are considered "precancerous") or moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser (greater than 5 mm).
It's important to survey your own moles on a regular basis so you can detect any change (size, shape, color, hurting or bleeding) which should then be brought to your doctor's attention.
Dr. M. Christine Lee
Dr. M. Christine Lee
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Dr. Timothy Rodgers
Dermatology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No
Fortunately most moles are harmless, benign skin lesions.
Many skin cancers develop from areas where patients did not have a mole.

In brief: No
Fortunately most moles are harmless, benign skin lesions.
Many skin cancers develop from areas where patients did not have a mole.
Dr. Timothy Rodgers
Dr. Timothy Rodgers
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1 comment
Dr. Kenneth Pienta
A mole may not be a pre-cancer -but if it changes size or color or shape you should get it checked by a doctor - preferably a dermatologist!
Dr. Margaret Mann
Dermatology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Most moles are fine
Fortunately, most moles or nevus are benign (not cancerous).
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can develop from existing moles or in a new area. Just because you have moles doesn't mean you have skin cancer, though patients with a lot of moles (more than 50) that are unusual in appearance may be at higher risk and should be checked regularly to make sure they are not changing.

In brief: Most moles are fine
Fortunately, most moles or nevus are benign (not cancerous).
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can develop from existing moles or in a new area. Just because you have moles doesn't mean you have skin cancer, though patients with a lot of moles (more than 50) that are unusual in appearance may be at higher risk and should be checked regularly to make sure they are not changing.
Dr. Margaret Mann
Dr. Margaret Mann
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Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No
Some moles are benign and will always remain so.
That being said, moles that are changing in shape, size, color or height on the skin should be assessed by a dermatologist. Moles that are noticably changing might be harboring cancer cells.

In brief: No
Some moles are benign and will always remain so.
That being said, moles that are changing in shape, size, color or height on the skin should be assessed by a dermatologist. Moles that are noticably changing might be harboring cancer cells.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Dr. Dean Giannone
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Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No
A true mole is not skin cancer nor is it always a precursor to skin cancer; however, certain skin cancers (melanoma) can have an appearance that mimics a mole.
The abcde's of melanoma are: a = asymmetric shape, b = indistinct borders, c = multiple colors within the same lesion, d = diameter > 6 mm, and e = elevation. Always use sunscreen, re-apply often and have your skin checked by your doctor.

In brief: No
A true mole is not skin cancer nor is it always a precursor to skin cancer; however, certain skin cancers (melanoma) can have an appearance that mimics a mole.
The abcde's of melanoma are: a = asymmetric shape, b = indistinct borders, c = multiple colors within the same lesion, d = diameter > 6 mm, and e = elevation. Always use sunscreen, re-apply often and have your skin checked by your doctor.
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
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Dr. Ronald Shelton
Dermatology
In brief: Benign moles/cancer
Benign moles are not a sign of cancer to come.
Most people have twenty moles over their body. Some melanomas do form from unusual moles, some that are congenital and others that are acquired, but most melanomas arise from sundamaged skin without a mole being present. Look for unusual change in shape, color, symmetry, border, size, bleeding, itching, new moles or lesions & see a dermatologist.

In brief: Benign moles/cancer
Benign moles are not a sign of cancer to come.
Most people have twenty moles over their body. Some melanomas do form from unusual moles, some that are congenital and others that are acquired, but most melanomas arise from sundamaged skin without a mole being present. Look for unusual change in shape, color, symmetry, border, size, bleeding, itching, new moles or lesions & see a dermatologist.
Dr. Ronald Shelton
Dr. Ronald Shelton
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Dr. Visalakshi Vallury
Family Medicine
In brief: No
Most moles are non-cancerous.
Signs that a mole may be cancerous include, change in color, sudden increase in size, irregular borders, bleeding. It pays to be watchful and report any changes to your physician so that a biopsy can be done. Remember that the one of the biggest factors in development of skin cancer is uv damage, whether from the sun or tanning beds.

In brief: No
Most moles are non-cancerous.
Signs that a mole may be cancerous include, change in color, sudden increase in size, irregular borders, bleeding. It pays to be watchful and report any changes to your physician so that a biopsy can be done. Remember that the one of the biggest factors in development of skin cancer is uv damage, whether from the sun or tanning beds.
Dr. Visalakshi Vallury
Dr. Visalakshi Vallury
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Dr. Latisha Smith
Wound care
In brief: No
A mole is a cluster of mostly normal skin cells.
However when you get a skin survey by a physician the moles are the first places that are checked. The pigmented moles are more likely to change in appearance in such a way that cancer will be suspected and a biopsy done. The vast majority of moles will never degenerate into skin cancer.

In brief: No
A mole is a cluster of mostly normal skin cells.
However when you get a skin survey by a physician the moles are the first places that are checked. The pigmented moles are more likely to change in appearance in such a way that cancer will be suspected and a biopsy done. The vast majority of moles will never degenerate into skin cancer.
Dr. Latisha Smith
Dr. Latisha Smith
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Dr. Barbara A Majeroni
Family Medicine
In brief: No
Many moles are harmless.
You should have your doctor check a mole if it is increasing in size, has irregular edges, or more than one color.

In brief: No
Many moles are harmless.
You should have your doctor check a mole if it is increasing in size, has irregular edges, or more than one color.
Dr. Barbara A Majeroni
Dr. Barbara A Majeroni
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