Medical Definition of Nevus

Reviewed on 9/16/2022

Nevus is a term for a benign growth on the skin made up of a cluster of cells termed melanocytes that are responsible for the darker color of the cells, which also may be raised higher than the surrounding skin cells. Many doctors consider a nevus the same thing as a mole; birthmarks are included as a type of nevus.

In most people, a nevus or mole may often appear in several places, most commonly in sun-exposed skin. These skin changes are usually benign and thus are non-cancerous; however, rarely one may develop into a skin cancer. The mole or nevus that grows bigger or changes shape and/or color needs evaluation by a dermatologist, who will likely remove the growth.

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References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.