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Skin Care and Diseases

Mole question

01/09/2006

Question:

I asked my doctor to look at a small mole on my leg. I thought the mole had a weird shape but he didn`t seem to think so. He told me to just keep an eye on it and to come back if it got bigger. My concern was melanoma. The mole is small, about one sixteenth of an inch. If it was melanoma, would it get larger? Thank you.

Answer:

A melanoma frequently begins as a very small lesion, and then expands from one clone of cells to a large growth that is abnormal.  Rapid growth, abnormal color or even loss of color, bleeding, increase in size peripherally and/or vertically all can be part of the picture of melanoma.  I would urge you to see a board certified dermatologist.  Express your concerns and even ask for a biopsy if your concerns have not been satisfied with the discussion.  The sooner an abnormal mole and/or melanoma is removed is best.  A number of factors could focus on that --- your family history, your personal medical history, etc.  Please see your qualified board certified dermatologist soon.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati