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Do Red Moles Mean You Have Cancer?

Updated on October 22, 2013
Red moles aren't necessarily a sign that you have cancer.
Red moles aren't necessarily a sign that you have cancer.

When you look through history, moles were a sign of the devil. Men and women with any type of mole or other “deformity” were thought to be witches and often tried as one. However, they are now often referred to as beauty spots. The world isn’t as suspicious as it once was with technology and science advancing so much.

However, doctors are well aware that moles can also be a sign of cancer. This is especially the case if a mole changes in colour or size, bleeds or scabs over.

So, what about red moles? Are they a sign of cancer? You may want to have it checked but just because they are red doesn’t mean you have cancer. There are a few steps to take to determine whether it is cancerous or not.

Has the Size or Shape of the Red Moles Changed?

Keep an eye on all your moles—not just the red ones. You need to make sure the size and shape do not change. These are signs that it is cancer. The cancer cells grow and multiply and it can mean strange things happen to the marks on your body. If you notice that there has been a change, you should consult your doctor who will take steps to make sure it is nothing to worry about.

Another sign is pain when you touch the red moles. No mole should be painful, since it is just a pigmentation change in your skin. If they are painful, there is something else happening underneath and you need to find out what that is.

Moles should always be symmetrical—or close to it. When one side grows more than the other, it is a clear sign that something could be wrong. If they are relatively small, it may not actually be a problem. However, those that are larger than a rubber at the end of a pencil could be dangerous.

Moles and skin changes can happen for all types of reasons.
Moles and skin changes can happen for all types of reasons. | Source

Has the Mole Changed Colour?

Moles shouldn’t change colour. If the red moles have always been red, it is usually nothing to worry about. If you are in doubt, then you should talk to a doctor. However, if the moles have turned red over a space of time, you need to have them checked immediately.

One of the signs of malignant melanoma, one of the most deadly types of skin cancer, is a mole changing from the normal brown colour to red. As long as the cancer is caught early, there are high chances of survival. It pays to keep an eye on any changes that happen to your body or asking close family members or loved ones to help keep an eye on those that are out of sight.

It’s not just the whole colour that you need to look out for. The mole itself should be one colour. One of the signs of cancer is when the border of the mole is a different colour to the rest of it. The borders may also be irregular in shape.

Most Red Moles Are Harmless

These types of moles are usually harmless, especially if they have just recently appeared. Cancer should not be the first thing that comes to mind. In most cases, they simply show that the skin is aging and are perfectly normal.

Red moles are also known as cherry angiomas and have blood vessels within them; hence why they are red. They usually appear on the bottom and thighs but can appear anywhere on the body. Those more likely to find a mole of this colour on their body are women and men in their 30s or older—the older you get the more chance you’ll find one, two or more.

There is no need to seek medical attention for them, unless they start bleeding. This isn’t usually because they are cancerous but because of the broken blood vessels, which can lead to infection.

Knowing the signs of cancerous moles is really important.
Knowing the signs of cancerous moles is really important.

Accepting the Change to Your Skin

When you do see new red moles, you have two choices. You can accept the change that is happening to your body or you can do something about it to have them removed. This will depend on a number of factors, including your financial situation, the location and size of the moles and whether you have already accepted changes.

Most of these moles appear out of sight, so there may be no need to have them removed. However, they can appear anywhere. You may have them on your neck, chest or face and it can cause some social anxiety and low confidence. If this is the case, you may want to talk to a cosmetic surgeon about having them removed. Remember that this is a personal choice—no-one can tell you what to do but your doctor will discuss your options with you.

If you don’t want the skin aging any more, it’s important to care for it. You could try creams and lotions but simply hydrating your body and skin, replenishing any lost moisture and getting all the right nutrients is often enough to look after your skin and prevent further aging.

Red moles are not necessarily a bad thing. They’re not a definite sign that you have cancer and you need to check other factors other than the colour of the moles. In most cases, red moles are among the safest of all but cause appearance problems. Do regular checks on your moles to test the size and shape, find new ones and decide whether they need removing or not.


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