Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

We will be discontinuing this community as of April 1, 2014. We value and appreciate your participation in this community and hope that you will continue to post your questions in the WebMD Cancer Community.
Includes Expert Content
Has it always been melanoma?
avatar
EmmaBenjamin posted:
My brother just discovered that a mole on his leg is melanoma skin cancer. He is 19, and has had the mole his whole life, and has never noticed it changing. Has it always been cancerous, or can a mole just "become" cancerous?
Reply
 
avatar
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi EmmaBenjamin,

This is information from our slideshow - Precancerous lesion & Skin Cancer Slideshow -

"Although very few moles become cancer, abnormal or atypical moles can develop into melanoma over time. "Normal" moles can appear flat or raised or may begin flat and become raised over time. The surface is typically smooth. Normal moles are round or oval and no larger than a pencil eraser. Most moles develop in youth or young adulthood. It's unusual to acquire a mole in the adult years."

This resource, Moles, Freckles & Skin Tags , may also be helpful.

I am so sorry to hear about your brothers diagnosis. What procedure and follow-up has he had?

Elizabeth
 
avatar
Skin Cancer Foundation
Michael W Steppie, MD responded:
Although melanoma is more likely to occur in older people, it is also found in younger people. In fact, melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old.

Any mole can become cancerous at any time. For instance, moles can undergo a change when an individual reaches puberty, as melanocyte-stimulated hormones can switch on genes that turn benign moles into cancerous moles. Also, remember that melanoma can sometimes be genetic and not only caused by over-exposure to the sun. For instance, individuals with 10 or more dysplastic nevi (atypical moles) — which tend to run in families — have 12 times the risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population.

It is important to get familiar with the ABCDE signs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.

Have a look at the link below for further details.
http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma/melanoma-warning-signs-and-images


Health Insurance in Your State

Learn about plans, benefits, and costs in your state's Marketplace.

From WebMD

Helpful Tips

Font Size!
Don't forget you can increase your font size by hitting and holding Ctrl on your keyboard and the plus sign at the same time. Could be ... More
Was this Helpful?
17 of 28 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.