Doctor, doctor: Popping pills, plus moles and melanoma | Medical advice

Is it OK to swallow medication with liquid other than water, such as milk, coffee, tea or even alcohol, particularly if you find pills hard to swallow?
Most times, yes. There are, however, a few medications that should not be taken with milk, and your doctor should be able to advise you if that's the case with the ones you are taking – it's all a matter of the milk interfering with (mostly delaying, but not usually preventing) your uptake of the drug from your gut. Tea and coffee are not a problem. Why some people find swallowing pills so very difficult is hard to understand – after all, at every meal, they swallow items of food that are much bulkier than a small pill or capsule – but the problem is a real one. If you have trouble swallowing tablets, your doctor may be able to offer you a soluble preparation.

I'm 28 and fair-skinned with loads of moles. While dry-shaving my legs, the top skin of a mole on my lower leg came away perfectly intact and it didn't bleed; the mole is still there on the leg, as it was before. Over the last year, another mole has appeared on my foot on the same leg. Should I be worried about this? Unfortunately, I have allowed myself to burn in the sun over the years, and have been lax about using suncream, too. Does having lots of moles put me at greater risk of melanoma?
You need to make an appointment with your doctor, if only for reassurance. Having lots of pigmented naevi (the medical term for moles) does not raise your risk of melanoma, but, sadly, you have increased the risk by allowing yourself to get sunburnt. Shaving the top off a naevus bloodlessly doesn't make any difference to its risk of becoming malignant – in fact, it strongly suggests that the mole is benign and therefore nothing to worry about. The same goes for the rest of your naevi. However, it is wise to have them checked professionally, because this should put your mind at rest. Benign naevi can arise at any age, so don't feel that a new one must be a risk. However, it's best to be sure, so you can put this worry completely behind you.

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