This New York City dermatologist called Dr. Bobby Buca on this web page says:

"Freckles and moles have two things in common: there is a genetic tendency to get them, and both are darker than the surrounding skin.

However, there is one big difference. Freckles have zero potential for malignant transformation."

On the other hand, this article says "Unusual-appearing freckles may become malignant skin cancer."

Furthermore, this article says "Although there are many different types of cancer, they all start because of cells that are growing abnormally and out of control. Cancer can start in any cell in the body." The bold font is in the original.

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is much medical science here, just interpretation of language and writing.

"Freckles have zero potential for malignant transformation" is not a statement of scientific fact, it is an example of rhetorical hyperbole. The statement is not intended to be taken literally, but to emphasize a distinction between moles and freckles.

Similarly, "Unusual-appearing freckles may become malignant skin cancer" is mixing a colloquial definition with a medical one. An "unusual-appearing freckle" is possibly not a freckle at all, but rather cancer that a patient may dismiss as "just a freckle". The statement should not be taken literally in conjunction with the first one.

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