Suspicious Moles and Skin Cancer

See Dr. Irwin's short video on how to suspicious moles, what to look out for, the ABCs of melanoma and skin cancer, and when to go see your dermatologist.

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Video Transcription 

Dr. Brandith Irwin:
Welcome to I’m Dr. Brandith Irwin. Our goal is to provide you with expert, unbiased information on skincare and cosmetic dermatology. This segment is on suspicious moles and when to see a dermatologist. So to begin with I’d like to say that if there’s a mole that you are concerned about, absolutely see a dermatologist. It has been proven with studies that dermatologists are significantly better than primary care doctors at identifying melanomas. If there’s any question that you have a mole that you think is changing, it is really a good idea to see a dermatologist. If you can’t see a dermatologist right away, then see your primary care doctor for sure and then hopefully they will refer you if needed. So things to remember about moles is after the age of thirty, new moles are unusual. So be suspicious of any new mole, particularly if you’re over thirty. In general also, moles should be the size of a pencil eraser or less and that’s not that big. So if you have moles that are bigger than a pencil eraser, particularly several of them, those at some point should be checked by a dermatologist. Also, remember you’re ABCDs. And I know all of you have seen this hopefully somewhere on the web or from you doctors. SO ABCDs and these can be found on as well.

A stands for asymmetry. So if you cut the mole in half the two sides should pretty much match right. The B stands for borders. The borders should be smooth so in other words the mole should be round or oval-even if it’s a triangle and it’s symmetric it might be fine. But the mole itself should be symmetric. The C stands for color. Or so I think of it as color and contour. In other words moles should not have more than one color in them in general and the contour again should be smooth.  And them the D is for diameter. And just pencil eraser size of less and as long as it doesn’t have those other features, probably fine. If it’s pencil eraser sized or greater, you should probably get that checked. So then remember your ABCDs and then see your dermatologist for sure particularly if the mole is changing, itching, bleeding, if you have nay symptoms associated with it that are unusual or new. And I hope you enjoy your time on SkinTour, please see our resource section for more information.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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