Moles – Pediatric
Moles are common in childhood. Some moles, “congenital nevi,” are present at birth, or show up in the first couple of years of life. They are usually benign and don’t require treatment, but, depending on their size or other features, may need to be followed by a dermatologist over time. Rarely, very large congenital nevi may be at risk to become cancerous and can be associated with internal abnormalities of the nervous system. These may require treatment. A Spitz nevus is a type of childhood mole that needs to be followed closely and sometimes removed because of a possible association with melanoma, a skin cancer. Other moles show up on the skin throughout childhood and adolescence, and sometimes into adulthood. These are called “aquired melanocytic nevi.” By adulthood, the average number of these moles that a person has is in the range of 10 to 40, but is dependent on a number of factors, such as genetics, skin type, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The vast majority of these moles in childhood are benign, but children can rarely develop a type of skin cancer called melanoma.