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Dysplastic Nevi Information and Treatment

"Atypical moles" also referred to as Clark's nevi or dysplastic nevi are moles that are considered to be precancerous or more likely to turn into melanoma than regular moles. Dysplastic nevi are generally larger than ordinary moles and have irregular and indistinct borders marked by melanocytic dysplasia. The diagnosis of atypical moles is made clinically and not histologically, and moles should be removed only if they are suspected to be melanomas. Clinically, these moles are large (> 5 mm in diameter), with an ill-defined, irregular border and irregularly distributed pigmentation. It is estimated that in Dysplastic Nevi 5-10% of the United States population have one or more atypical nevi. Dysplastic Nevi have defined an increased risk of melanoma in the following populations patients with 50 or more nevi with one or more atypical moles and one mole at least 8 mm or larger, and patients with a few to many definitely atypical moles. These patients of Dysplastic Nevi deserve education and regular (usually every 6-12 months) follow-up. Kindreds with familial melanoma (numerous atypical nevi and a strong family history) deserve even closer attention, as the risk of developing single or even multiple melanomas in these individuals approaches 50% by age 50.

Atypical naevi are moles (melanocytic naevi) that have unusual features such as an indistinct edge and/or larger size. A dysplastic nevus can even give rise to malignant melanoma. They usually have a macular component and keep on changing there shape. The borders are irregular and often hazy. There may be variation of color, with admixtures of tan, brown, and pink. When a pathologist looks at an atypical mole under the microscope, it has features that are in-between a normal mole and a melanoma. Most experts believe that atypical moles are at higher risk of turning into melanoma as compared to normal moles. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer which kills quickly if not removed in time.

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