DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Mole (melanocytic naevus) on a 62 year old woman's skin. Moles are caused by an abnormality or proliferation of melanocytes, the skin cells that produce the pigment melanin. Most moles are harmless, but some may have atypia (an abnormal appearance). Atypia usually involves a change in colour or size, or itchiness of the mole. This mole has mild atypia, which usually only requires close observation. More severe atypia can lead to malignant (cancerous) changes so the mole is often excised as a preventative measure.
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