It is common for adults to have between 10 and 40 moles. People with lighter skin tend to have more moles than those with darker skin.
Moles can change as a person ages. Some will become darker or lighter, and many moles grow. They can appear anywhere on the skin, from the scalp to the soles of the feet and even under the fingernails.
Most moles are harmless, but people should check them for changes, such as bleeding, that can indicate melanoma.
In this article, learn why moles can bleed and when to seek medical treatment.
Raised moles can catch on things, such as jewelry, and start to bleed. They can also feel itchy, and a person may break the skin if they scratch too hard.
A bleeding mole may be painful, but a person can usually treat these minor wounds at home.
If a mole bleeds for no apparent reason, however, a person should see a doctor. Bleeding moles, or moles that look like open sores, can sometimes be signs of melanoma.
Exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays causes most skin cancers. The following are general tips to prevent skin cancer:
- Stay in the shade during the brightest hours of the day.
- Avoid tanning in the sun, and never use UV tanning beds.
- Cover up in the sun with a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
- Use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during long periods of sun exposure.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and immediately after swimming or sweating excessively.
- Keep newborns out of the sun.
Most bleeding moles result from superficial cuts or snags. A person can treat them at home by applying pressure and a bandage.
If a mole bleeds for no apparent reason, or it starts to look like an open sore, contact a doctor for an evaluation.
The 5-year survival rate for very early-stage melanoma that has not spread is 99 percent. This means that nearly all the people with this type of skin cancer are still alive 5 years after diagnosis.
It is essential to monitor moles for signs of cancer and speak to a doctor about any concerns.
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