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Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"When should one get a mole biopsied? "

ZocdocAnswersWhen should one get a mole biopsied?

Question

When is the right time to get a biopsy performed on a mole? I have a mole on my upper chest that may have been changing size over the last few years.

Answer

Questions about a mole or new skin lesion are best answered by a dermatologist. In general, the guidelines for when to seek medical care about a mole or skin lesion can be summarized in the acronym ABCDE. A stands for asymmetry. If you were to draw a line through the center of a mole or freckle and the two halves were not symmetrical, you should consult a physician for evaluation. B stands for border. If the border of the mole is blurry or or jagged, you should see a physician. C stands for color. Normal freckles or moles or typically one color throughout. Normal freckles and moles are typically a single color throughout. D stands for diameter. If a mole changes suddenly in size, it should be checked by a physician. Likewise, a physician should be aware of any mole or skin lesion that is larger than about 1/4 of an inch (5mm or so). some moles can be larger than this, but they should not change in size over time. E stands for elevation. A normal mole or freckle will be flat. If the surface becomes elevated or protruding, it should also be evaluated by a dermatologist. Any one or combination of these changes should prompt a visit with a dermatologist for evaluation and likely biopsy.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.