When should a skin growth be checked?

Hi Dr Irwin, I'm debating whether or not to get a new skin growth checked out. I have a newly formed lump on my cheek that is hard, circular and painless. It seems to be growing bigger over time. It is raised and the same color as my skin. Is there a reason to have this checked out? Thank you.

This is IMPORTANT! People die in this country almost every day (and worldwide also) from melanoma – a deadly form of skin cancer. It is completely curable if caught early and often fatal if caught later.

Soooooo… if you have a skin lesion it absolutely needs to be checked by your primary care doctor or a dermatologist, especially if it’s changing. Please do NOT try to do self diagnosis on the web. The photos that you see of skin lesions represent the “textbook” forms of them. Many skin cancers do not look like the books or photos.

Some good rules about these are:

  • If a skin growth is changing rapidly, get it checked now, as in the next couple of weeks;
  • If a skin growth is new and isn’t changing much, have it checked in the next month or so;
  • Any skin growth changing slowly over time needs to be checked also in the next month or so;
  • If you have any family history of melanoma, have a history of sunburns, are a redhead or have a lot of moles, get a baseline skin exam and risk assessment by the time you are about 20.
  • Know the warning signs of melanoma – see AAD.org.

These simple steps would save many lives!

Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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

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