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"Do cancerous moles itch?"

ZocdocAnswersDo cancerous moles itch?

Question

I'm only in my 20s, but I'm pretty worried about skin cancer, because my mother was just diagnosed. Recently, I've been obsessing over a mole on my shoulder that sometimes gets extremely itchy. Is the itchiness a sign that the mole could be cancerous?

Answer

The diagnosis and surveillance of moles and skin cancers should involve the care of specialists including internists, dermatologists, and others. The "A-B-C-D-E" rule of melanoma recognition is a helpful tool when monitoring your moles and should prompt further evaluation. This includes monitoring for Asymmetry, Border irregularities, Color variability (different colors within the same region), Diameter greater than 6mm, Enlargement (or evolution of color, shape, or symptoms). Although itching is not part of this criteria, a change in symptoms should prompt evaluation to begin the process of surveillance at least. A family history of certain skin cancers (particularly melanoma) have more of a familial occurrence than other types of skin cancers. In addition to clinical surveillance by a dermatologist, dermatologists may also use dermoscopy or even potentially biopsy to more fully evaluate your lesion. Those who are at higher risk include light-skinned person, those who burn easily in the son, people with a family history of melanoma, those with lots of moles, and also people who have lots of sun exposure. It is not possible to make a diagnosis or develop a treatment plan without seeing the patient. It is the strong recommendation to seek a referral to a dermatologist to be evaluated in person.

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