What is a Congenital Melanocytic Nevus?
By Jaclyn Mandel with Get Goalden (www.getgoalden.com)
A nevus is a birthmark. Nevus Outreach deals with large and giant congenital melanocytic nevi (GCMN). Large means, well, big! Congenital means it is present at birth. Melanocytic means that it is pigment-based. GCMN’s are thought to occur about once in every 500,000 births.
Besides producing increased pigmentation, the area covered by a melanocytic nevus often produces increased amounts of hair. The formation of sweat glands can be disrupted in nevi – so sometimes a person with a large nevus may not sweat where their nevus is located. Many nevi lack subcutaneous fat, a layer of fat just under the skin that pads the body everywhere.
Large congenital nevi form in the womb within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. They are caused by a defect during embryologic development. There is no known method of prevention. They appear in either sex, in all races, and on any areas of the skin.
In terms of physical health, pigmented moles have been linked to melanoma, a potentially deadly skin cancer. Also, certain children with large nevi may have melanin, melanocytes and/or nevomelanocytes in their central nervous systems (the brain and spinal cord). This condition is known as neurocutaneous melanocytosis (melanosis) (NCM). NCM can be fatal in some cases.
I became involved with Nevus Outreach when my son, Drew, was born in 2010 with a GCMN that covers his mid back down to his thighs. He has since acquired hundreds of satellite moles that cover his entire body. I have a passion for bringing awareness to this little charity as often as I can! I volunteer my time to the organization every day by contacting parents who are in desperate need of information when they first have a child born with this condition.
My work with Nevus Outreach was one of the reasons I was inspired to become a life coach. I wanted to improve my communication with the nevus community and my certification led me on a path to my own business, Get Goalden, LLC. Helping people is definitely my number one passion!
Nevus Outreach is completely funded by individual donations so please visit www.nevus.org to donate and learn more!