Is It a Mole?

Q. Recently, I noticed a (new) mole on my arm? Do I need to have something like this checked? Could this be serious or just a mole?

A. Good for you for performing a skin self-exam! It’s the first step in taking care of your skin. If a pigmented spot on your body is new or changing, if it begins to itch or bleed, or becomes tender, it’s a good idea to see your dermatologist. Let’s review the ABCD’s of evaluating a mole:

• Asymmetry – one half is unlike the other half.

• Border – irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

• Color – varied from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue.

• Diameter – while melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.

Any one or a combination of these factors, along with your personal and family history, might cause your dermatologist to sample the lesion and have it examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. This biopsy is a simple, nearly painless procedure that takes only a few minutes to perform in the office.

Karin Covi, M.D.

2051B Hamill Road, Suite 301A

Hixson, TN 37343

(423) 870-3376