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Has it always been melanoma?
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?
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?

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.

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