Why Did My Mole Disappear and what Should I Do?

What to watch for in moles

Run-of-the-mill moles can vary in appearance. For example, many are brown or black, but they can also appear tan, pink, or red. Some moles are perfectly round, whereas others are less symmetrical. And not all moles stick up from the skin. Some may be flat.

It’s important to take note of how your moles look so that you can determine whether they change in appearance over time.

Generally, moles grow and develop during your childhood and teen years. Most people develop 10 to 40 moles on their body by the time they reach adulthood. Moles that appear after this time should be monitored more closely for changes.

Any changes to a mole may be a sign of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Although a mole disappearing may not be cause for concern, you should see your doctor if the mole in question had any irregularity before it faded. This includes:

  • changes in appearance
  • feeling tender to the touch
  • bleeding
  • oozing
  • itching
  • flaking

You may find it helpful to use the “ABCDE” rule when monitoring changes. Under this guideline, you should see your doctor if there are changes in the mole’s characteristics. ABCDE refers to:

  • Asymmetry, or if one side of the mole doesn’t match the other
  • Border
  • Color
  • Diameter, particularly if the mole becomes larger than a pencil eraser
  • Evolving size, shape, or color

When to see your doctor

If your mole showed any warning signs prior to its disappearance, schedule an appointment with your doctor. You should arrive with specific details about the changes to your skin.

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and your medical history before examining the area. If diagnostic testing isn’t needed, the appointment should only take about 15 minutes.

If your doctor finds something suspicious

If your doctor thinks a mole or area of skin is suspect, they may recommend a biopsy. During this procedure, your doctor removes a small sample of skin in the affected area. Then, they review the sample under a microscope to determine if any malignant cells are present.

Your doctor may also choose to feel your lymph nodes as part of the exam. This is because cancer often spreads to nearby glands. Enlarged or tender lymph nodes may be a sign that your doctor needs to take a closer look.

In some cases, your doctor may choose to skip the biopsy and opt for a period of observation. They may take a photo of the mole or ask you to keep an eye on it until your next appointment. If further changes occur, they’ll move forward with testing.

What happens next

If your doctor doesn’t find anything malignant during your skin check, treatment isn’t necessary. You should still watch for any changes in the mole and return for your next scheduled check-up.

If the results of your biopsy indicate melanoma, your doctor will work with you to determine what comes next. This could mean a simple mole removal procedure in their office or further testing to determine the melanoma’s severity and spread.

How to protect your skin

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can decrease your risk of melanoma and other skin conditions. Try these tips:

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