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Common moles do not need to be removed. However, some people choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons; if they are raised and located in areas where clothing irritates them, such as the waistline; or if they are on the scalp and are irritated by hair brushing. Most moles can be cut off in a simple in-office procedure. Moles and dysplastic nevi whose appearance suggests they may be cancerous should be removed and examined under a microscope. If they are found to be cancerous, additional skin in the surrounding area also must be removed.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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