Benign moles are twice as likely to undergo changes in children and the elderly compared with middle-aged adults, an Australian study findings suggest.
But these changes are more likely to be benign when they occur in children than when they do in the elderly, say Scott Menzies (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales) and co-authors.
In other words, moles, being a live entity, is likely to change “naturally” in children. Changes (any change in colour, shape or size) noted in moles, which should always be checked by your General Practitioner or a Dermatologist, is more likely to be benign than malignant when found in children’s moles.
As reported in the Archives of Dermatology, Menzies and team analyzed 2497 benign melanocytic lesions in 1765 patients over a period of 2.5-4.5 months, using short-term sequential digital dermascopic imaging (SDDI).
The patients were classified according to age group: children/adolescents (0-18 years; n=115 moles), young adults (19-35 years; n=863 moles), middle-aged adults (36-65 years; n=1388 moles), and elderly adults (>65 years; n=131 moles).
When the team analyzed the proportion of changed moles according to patient age, gender, mole site, and mole diameter, they found that age was the only variable that was significantly associated with mole change.
Specifically, child/ adolescent, young adult, and elderly patients had 2.60-, 1.5- and 2.04-fold higher risks for benign mole change than middle aged individuals, respectively.
However, in childhood, moles changes are more likely to be innocent than in adults or the elderly, say Menzies and team.
Indeed, a positive correlation was noted between the proportion of dysplastic mole changes and age. In all, 35.7% of changed lesions in children and adolescents histologically were identified as dysplastic – a figure that rose steadily with age to reach 75.9% in the elderly.
In a related editorial, Bernard Cohen (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) wrote: “Using change (alone) as a criterion for excising pigmented nevi results in many unnecessary procedures in children and adolescents.”