Different types of Moles

Not every brown or black spot is a Melanoma. Moles come in many shapes and sizes, and the names can be quite confusing. Moles are a collection of pigment cells (Melanocytes). They are different to freckles.

Melanoma is a cancer of the pigment cells. These are the dangerous lesions that need to be removed urgently.

Atypical moles or Dysplastic naevi are lesions that look unusual but aren’t cancers. On looking at them they are hard to tell apart from Melanomas, and often need to be sampled and examined under the microscope. They may have an irregular shape, be large, or have different colours through the lesion.

Atypical Mole syndrome is a term used to describe people who have hundreds of moles as well as atypical moles. These people do have an increased risk of developing a melanoma.

Intradermal naevi (IDN) are raised up moles that are safe. It’s usual that these lesions have been there for a long time and don’t change.

Congenital naevi are lesions that have been present since about the time of birth. They can vary in size from a few millimeters to most of your back. These lesions are also generally safe; only the very large lesions having an increased risk of becoming Melanomas.

Benign neavi means that it is a harmless mole.