Video:Track a Skin Mole for Melanomawith Dr. David Colbert
Skin Moles found anywhere on the body can be early signs of melanoma skin cancer. Watch this video for helpful tips on self-exams and tracking skin moles for melanoma.See Transcript
Transcript:Track a Skin Mole for MelanomaHi. I'm Dr. David Colbert. A board certified dermatologist at The New York Dermatology Group, here for About.com. Today I'm going to show you how to track your skin moles for malignant melanoma.
Melanoma Moles Vary in Shapes and SizesMelanoma is a form of pigmented cancer. Generally speaking, it starts as dark spot – either black or grey or sometimes pink. Sometimes there's no color. And it comes in many sizes and shapes. But usually a melanoma is about the size of a pencil eraser or bigger.
Tracking or monitoring a mole is really dependent on a system called the ABCDE's of melanoma. So when you look at a mole, we want to know: what color?what size? is it evolving? Is it changing? Is it asymmetric? And is there a family history of melanoma?
Many doctors have their own methods. There are things called mole mapping. The moles are actually photographed and measured in a computer system. I think perhaps the best system is your own eyes and your doctor's eyes and having a high rate of suspicion. In other words if something's new and it doesn't feel right and it doesn't look good to the doctor it should be biopsied. That's the best way to track a mole.
Do Self-Exams Frequently to Spot Traces of MelanomaMelanoma can be anywhere on the body. It can be on the hands. It's less likely. The most common areas are the face and the back and the legs. Especially the legs in women. A full skin cancer screening unfortunately means that you have to come in and undress and a self exam means you should do it in your underwear and then even, after that, you have to take those off too.
A full exam requires that and I'll have her gynecologist also see her once a year or twice a year. We're going to look at the face, look at the ears, behind the ears are important. And really look carefully. This mole is small, it's round, it has one color, it's even colored and it doesn't have scalloped edges – so, I'm not worried about this mole. I'll keep an eye on it though and I'll track it and I'll look at it again in another 3 to 6 months.
If a Mole is Discolored and Larger Than a Pencil Eraser, See a Doctor> Of course when it starts it's just a speck. but when you notice that a pigmented or a colored lesion is growing and getting darker or bleeding or ulcerating. Anything over the size of maybe 4 or 5 millimeters you should get to your board certified dermatologist and have it looked at and probably biopsied.
Thanks for watching, And to learn more visit us on the web at About.com.
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