Moles are generally viewed to be a nuisance. Well, maybe not in the children’s classic Wind in the Willows. But pretty much everywhere else.

That applies whether they’re digging in your yard or showing up on your skin. At Deschutes, we’re interested in the moles on your skin. When they get in the way or make you self-conscious, the team at the Deschutes can remove them.

A mole is usually your friend under age 30

You probably think you’re the only one with an unsightly mole. Not so. Human skin is good at growing these things — the average person has between 10 and 40 moles. Moles can grow anywhere on the skin and are usually brown or black. Most moles develop in early adulthood over the first 30 years of a person’s life.

Over time, those moles change. Some will develop hairs. Others will become more raised or change color. Others will disappear.

Why do we have moles? The culprit is the same one that makes freckles and causes our skin to tan, melanocyte cells. Moles occur when melanocyte cells grow in clusters rather than being spread throughout the skin. Due to their pigment relationship, some moles darken with sun exposure, during the hormonal teenage years, and during pregnancy.

Moles and cancer

The vast majority of moles are simply hanging out, kind of like your Uncle Herb who comes for the holidays and lingers. Again like Herb, moles are usually harmless. But occasionally a mole changes color, height, size, or shape. That’s when you need to get it checked. Cancerous growths usually form after age 30, while moles usually form well before then.

It is rare for a mole to turn into melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. However, people with more than 50 miles are more likely to develop melanoma. And since we live in the sunny clime of Bend and we’re already on the lookout for skin cancer, it doesn’t hurt to add moles to your watchlist.

These are warning signs with moles:

  • A mole changes color
  • Its size changes unevenly
  • It changes height, shape, or texture
  • Skin becomes rough and scaly
  • Mole feels hard or lumpy
  • It itches, oozes, or bleeds.

If you have any of the above warning signs, or if your mole is simply becoming an irritation (such as on your bra strap line), call the team at Deschutes, [primary_phone], and let’s take it off.