A congenital melanocytic nevus, also referred to as “CMN,” is a birthmark that is caused by the excessive accumulation of benign pigment producing cells called melanocytes. It usually has varying shades of brown color, and the size can range from the size of a freckle to encompassing large areas of the body.
Often, people with one or more large CMN will also have many smaller nevi scattered over their skin. These smaller nevi can continue to appear after birth. About 1 in 100 people are born with a CMN, but most of these are small. Large and giant nevi are extremely rare. Large nevi occur in approximately 1 in 20,000 births.
Congenital melanocytic nevi form in the womb during fetal development. They are caused by a mutation that may be inherited or happens by chance and is not due to anything the mother did while pregnant.
Nevus Outreach is bringing awareness of congenital melanocytic nevi to the medical community so that people with nevi will be provided with accurate medical information and treatments.
Since 1997, Nevus Outreach has been dedicated to bringing awareness, providing support and finding cures for people affected by congenital melanocytic nevi and related disorders.
Potential related disorders that occur in some people with nevi are pigment cells on the brain and spinal cord. This is called neurocutaneous melanocytosis or “NCM.” NCM can cause complications in some people, and it is important to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if they occur.
People with large nevi have a slightly increased risk for developing melanoma in the nevus. It is therefore important that the nevus be monitored by you and your physician for changes that may be clues to melanoma. Uncommonly, melanoma can occur in other areas outside of the nevus, such as in the brain. Other challenges can be encountered in people with large CMN, including excessively bumpy skin texture, delicate nevus skin that tears or cuts easily, overheating, and itching.
Nevus Outreach funds research toward finding treatments and cures for these conditions so that all people with nevi can live fulfilling lives.
Nevus Outreach hosts an International Conference and Family Reunion bi-annually, with the 2020 Conference being held in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 8-10, 2020. The organization also has an online constituents-only Facebook group to exchange information with its over 4,500 members.
Nevus Outreach is a tax exempt 501©3 organization located in Jonesboro, Arkansas.