How do doctors check moles?

Can a doctor tell if a mole is cancerous just by looking at it?

Unfortunately, you can’t tell by looking at a mole whether it’s cancerous or what type it is. It could very well be a normal skin spot with an abnormal appearance. A dermatologist can’t always tell the difference either.

What do dermatologists use to look at moles?

A dermatologist will check your skin from head to toe, making note of any spots that need monitoring or further treatment. Many dermatologists will use a lighted magnifier called a dermatoscope to view moles and spots closely.

How do you know if a mole should be checked?

It’s important to get a new or existing mole checked out if it:

  • changes shape or looks uneven.
  • changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours.
  • starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding.
  • gets larger or more raised from the skin.

What does Stage 1 melanoma look like?

Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.

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What happens at a mole checkup appointment?

You’ll take off all of your clothes and put on a medical exam gown. Your doctor will ask if you have any moles that concern you. Then, they will then look at every inch of your body — from your face, chest, arms, back, and legs to less-visible places like your scalp, between your toes, and the soles of your feet.

What happens at a mole check?

What happens during a mole check? During a mole check, a full skin examination is usually performed unless your preference is otherwise. The exam itself is usually very brief taking just a few minutes. It entails removing your clothing so that the dermatologist gets to visualise all of your skin.

When is a mole suspicious?

A mole that does not have the same color throughout or that has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red is suspicious. Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. A mole of many shades or that has lightened or darkened should be checked by a doctor.

When should I be worried about a mole?

If you have any moles that are larger than most, have smudgy or irregular edges, are uneven in colour or have some pinkness, you should see a doctor and get them checked. Any moles that appear newly in adulthood should be checked. The most concerning sign, however, is a changing mole.

Can you have melanoma for years and not know?

How long can you have melanoma and not know it? It depends on the type of melanoma. For example, nodular melanoma grows rapidly over a matter of weeks, while a radial melanoma can slowly spread over the span of a decade. Like a cavity, a melanoma may grow for years before producing any significant symptoms.

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