Definition: "Atypical moles"
Causes: The tendency to develop atypical moles is inherited (runs in families). Exposing the skin to sunlight is thought to lead to the development of atypical moles.
Use sunscreen daily on exposed skin areas.
If you have a family member who has had a melanoma and you have atypical moles, you should have a complete skin exam each year.
People with many atypical moles should have a complete skin exam each year. You should also check your own moles once a month. If one mole seems to be changing more than your other moles or is marching out of step with your other moles it should be removed immediately by a plastic surgeon.
The only safe way to remove an atypical mole is to have it cut out. The specimen is then sent to the pathologist to be analyzed under the microscope. Removing an atypical mole leaves a permanent scar.
If an atypical mole looks like it could be an early melanoma, the plastic surgeon will recommend removal as soon as possible. Sometimes the only way to be absolutely sure that an atypical mole is not a melanoma is to have it removed and analyzed.