Photo Rounds

Growing mole on breast

A 24-year-old woman went to see her family physician (FP) because she was concerned about a growing mole on her breast. She said that it had become more raised over the past 2 years, but it had not grown in size. She said she’d had this mole her whole life and thought it had grown gradually in conjunction with her own growth. She denied any pain, itching, or bleeding associated with the mole.

What’s your diagnosis?


The FP recognized this lesion as a congenital nevus .

He was aware that nevi might become more raised during early adulthood, though this was not necessarily a sign of malignant degeneration. He looked at the nevus carefully and saw that it was relatively symmetrical with one predominant color and a light brown coloration on the left edge. (The patient stated it had always been this way.) The surface texture, which could be described as mamillated, was not unusual for congenital nevi. The FP examined the nevus using a dermatoscope and did not see any melanoma-specific structures.

The FP encouraged the patient to monitor the nevus and return for further evaluation if there were any changes or symptoms. He also offered her the option of a biopsy, but stated that it was not medically required. The patient noted that the changes of increased height of the congenital nevus had been very slow over the past 2 years, and she was willing to keep an eye on it. The patient returned in 6 months, and there were no visible changes to the congenital nevus.

Photos and text for Photo Rounds Friday courtesy of Richard P. Usatine, MD. This case was adapted from: Smith M. Congenital nevi. In: Usatine R, Smith M, Mayeaux EJ, et al. Color Atlas of Family Medicine . 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2013:953-957.

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