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can a mole suddenly appear in your 40's ?

By Anonymous November 6, 2009 - 7:24am
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a co worker said one just popped up on her wrist, she tans quickly also. She accidently scrapped it and it came off bleeding and the open wound has a little lump. she washed it off and put a band aid on it...

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HERWriter Guide

Dear Anon

Thanks for your question; it's a great one!

Moles can appear at anytime in a person's lifetime but they usually come up in childhood or by the age of 40. From another question posed some time ago (regarding a child's mole but it's good to read anyway), here is a response from experts in this area :

"Here's how Dr. Robert T. Brodell, Professor of Internal Medicine Professor of Dermatopathology in Pathology at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy responded to your question about moles:

"People can get new moles until they are about 40 years old....so the appearance of a stable mole in an infant is not a surprise. The trick is in the "stable" nature of the mole. If it were to grow or change....it would need to be seen by a dermatologist to determine if it should be removed. Even coloration, smooth border, smooth surface, lack of ulceration are all benign features. Hope this helps! Dr. BOB"

Dr. Summer R. Youker, Assistant Professor of Dermatology
at St. Louis University offered this answer:

"The average white individual should expect to develop between 15 and 40 nevi (moles) during their lifetime. They begin to develop during early childhood and continue into the 20's. When you reach your 70's and 80's, your nevi begin to regress. The number of nevi a person makes in her lifetime is related to the amount of sun exposure she receives in the first two decades of life. Intermittent, intense sunlight seems to be of greater importance than chronic sun exposure in the formation of nevi. So... This toddler's new mole is most likely the first of many. Normal nevi should be even in color and border and be symmetric. Normal nevi in children should grow with the child, not out of proportion to the child's growth. If the nevus begins to grow in size out of proportion to the toddler's growth, begins to change color, or develops an irregular border, I would recommend having it checked by a dermatologist. Additionally, if there is a strong family history of melanoma, I would recommend an evaluation by a dermatologist. Otherwise, continue the wonderful efforts at sun protection and don't forget to reapply her sunscreen every 1 1/2 to 2 hours."

And Laurie Bernard-Stover, MD from Rady Children's, San Diego had this to say:

"Nevi (commonly called Moles) can appear throughout childhood even with good sun protection. Given what you state about the color and size, it is most likely benign and nothing to worry about. For monitoring moles, the key is to watch for changes in them, for example: color, size or irregular borders. If you are concerned, you can show it to your child's pediatrician, who can then decide whether a dermatology evaluation is needed. Many skin lesions of children can look similar to moles, so if you have any concerns, or if the lesion grows, you should see your pediatrician. In regard to sun protection, the best method is always to cover-up with UV-blocking clothing, with high SPF sunscreen on exposed areas (such as hands and feet). You should never depend on sunscreen alone."

Dr. Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital gave us this answer:

"It's not uncommon to get a few pinpoint (1-2mm) round spots...typically brown-black but it depends on skin complexion. If it stabilizes in size, shape and color, I do not think it needs to be removed; however, if it continues to change, then you should find a pediatric dermatologist to evaluate right away. If crops of these are forming and not just isolated ones, then one should also consult a pediatric dermatologist. Melanoma at this age is exceedingly rare. I've seen children at 10-12 yrs of age get melanoma but not really in the toddler years." "

Anon - you mentioned your coworker "tans easily" so is she a sunbather or does she use tanning beds? This is not a good idea and she should have some sun (we all need some sun for it's health benefits) but not sit out in the sun for long periods of time, deliberately trying to darken her skin.

If she snagged her mole, it may be bleeding due the trauma, rather than something being suspicious about the mole. However, if it doesn't heal quickly or she sees any changes in her mole at all, or it grows, she should see a doctor immediately.

It's also a good idea to mention and show this mole to her doctor on her next annual visit, just to have some piece of mind.

But if she has any doubts, tell her that seeing a doctor or dermatologist is a good idea.

Keep us updated and we wish her the best - thanks for looking out for her!

November 6, 2009 - 1:20pm
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