Are Your Moles Cancerous?

Posted on: 15 June 2015


You may be confused or concerned when you see a new mole on your body, since you likely know that some moles can signal the skin cancer called melanoma. However, less than one percent of all moles turn out to be cancerous. While this statistic may help you breathe a sigh of relief over a new mole, remember that it is important to have all moles, including new and existing ones, checked over by a dermatologist every year. 

If you are still anxious to find out what kind of mole you have and how it can be removed, here is a guide to two common moles and how to get rid of them. 

1. Cherry Angiomas

One common type of skin spot that can pop up on anyone at any time is the cherry angioma. Cherry angiomas are small mole-like marks that are slightly raised. They typically appear on the trunk of the body, such as on the torso, back, and chest, but they can appear anywhere. The good news is that they are not signs of cancer. They are made up of blood vessels, so they can bleed on occasion, though, if you rub them too hard with a washcloth while bathing or if they rub against your clothing. 

While these moles don't have to be removed, they can be if you don't like their appearance or they bleed often. It is actually best to remove any that tend to bleed, as there is always risk of infection any time the skin is broken. They can be removed easily by a physician, and they are typically removed with cryotherapy, laser removal, or simple excision. 

2. Seborrheic Keratosis

Moles called seborrheic keratosis are the most common type of mole to appear on adults. They are typically brown or black and raised, and they can feel slightly bumpy to the touch. The great news is that these moles also do not signal cancer. That means that, like cherry angiomas, they don't have to be removed, but they can be if you don't like their appearance or they bleed often. 

These growths are typically a bit more raised and larger than cherry angiomas, but they can be removed in a similar fashion. Your doctor can remove them with laser treatment or cryotherapy. Smaller ones can be excised, although other removal options are better for larger moles, as they typically have lower risk of scarring. 

If you have a new mole that appears to be one of the above types, then it is likely not cancerous, but mole removal is easy if you choose to go that route. However, you should always have a dermatologist examine any new and existing moles every year to be safe.