DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Benign mole. Melanocytic (pigmented) naevus, also known as a mole, on the skin of an 18 year-old man. Moles are benign skin growths, brown to dark brown in colour, and may be of different sizes. They form due to an abnormality or overactivity of melanocytes (skin cells which produce the brown pigment melanin). They may be present at birth as birthmarks, but more commonly develop during childhood and young adulthood. Most naevi are harmless and require no treatment. In rare cases a mole may suddenly grow, bleed or become lumpy, and may turn cancerous. Medical advice may be required to exclude the possibility of the form of skin cancer known as melanoma.
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