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August 31, 2011

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Girl covered with moles gets first surgery in city

A five-year-old girl with a very rare skin disease leaving black moles covering much of her body received plastic surgery in the city yesterday - with a planned 20 years' worth more to come.

The girl will receive repeated surgeries over the next two decades to remove the moles gradually, said doctors from the Shanghai Art Plastic Cosmetic and Esthetic Surgery Hospital, which launched the charity treatment.

Chen Siyu from Chongqing Municipality had only a few black nevi when she was born. But thousands of black and hairy moles started to appear on her neck, back, arms and legs and grew in size quickly since she was two.

She was diagnosed with congenital giant nevus, a disease that hits one in 500,000 people. It features dark-colored, often hairy patches of skin. Smaller in infants, the nevi usually continue to grow with the child and stop growing after puberty.

"The girl needs early treatment because there is the possibility of cancerous change and she has started to suffer psychological pressure," said Dr Ren Tianping, director of the hospital's plastic surgery department. "Usually such disease has a 10 to 25 percent of chance to deteriorate, including cancer."

"As she is too young to bear big surgeries, we will mainly focus on the four limbs which can't be covered by clothes at present," he said. "Nevi at these places are also likely to turn cancerous because of frequent rubbing."

The girl will need skin-transplant surgery on her back in the future, doctors said.

"The girl has received two surgeries recently in Chongqing's No. 4 People's Hospital, so she is scared about surgeries," said Qin Daifen, her mother. "She has suffered a lot from the disease, which makes her so self-ashamed. She asked me why she had the black nevi and wanted to wash them off."

The girl's father died of liver cancer in June and Qin said his biggest worry was his sick daughter.


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