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nevus Causes

A nevus or mole develops when melanocyte cells that transport melanin, a natural pigment responsible for skin color, fail to distribute melanin evenly to the skin layers and instead grow in clusters. The clustered pigmented area often gives rise to a mole.

nevus Definition

Nevus, or nevi in plural form, is the medical term for moles, which are basically clusters of pigmented cells that typically appear as small, dark brown spots on the skin's outer layer (epidermis). Nevi can be found in virtually any part of the body.

nevus Diagnosis

A skin examination and the sight of the pigmented area are sufficient to diagnose a nevus.

nevus Symptoms and Signs

Commonly, a nevus appears as a plain, brownish spot. However, some other colors, shapes, and sizes of nevi have been observed. Colors of nevus may range from flesh colored, to reddish brown, to dark brown, or blue. Its shape may vary from oval to round. Size is also variable; some are as small as a pinhead while others are big enough to cover an entire arm. But on average, nevi are less than a quarter of an inch in size. A nevus can develop in any part of the body. In general, nevi or moles are generally harmless and painless. In rare cases, however, these pigmented spots can become cancerous and progress to skin cancer such as malignant melanoma.

nevus Treatment

Most moles or nevi do not require treatment. However, if a nevus has been found to be cancerous, it may have to be entirely surgically removed. Some individuals may also opt to have their nevi removed for cosmetic reasons through: shave excision; punch biopsy; or excisional surgery.

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