Beware… of the Ugly Duckling Mole

“Doc, what does a bad mole look like?”

This question defies a simple answer, and even dermatologists don’t always bat a thousand. The “ABCDE’s” of melanoma detection certainly help guide both doctors in clinic and patients as they self-examine. Briefly, “A” is for asymmetry, “B” is for border irregularity, “C” is for color, “D” is for diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and “E” is for evolving, meaning a change in the pre-existent mole. However, many moles including melanomas defy these criteria but are still recognized as worrisome by dermatologists. These are called “ugly duckling” moles because they just don’t fit in with the other “ducks” on our skin. When dermatologists survey the skin’s landscape, they look for the odd one or two moles which are simply inconsistent with the rest. This difference may be one of asymmetry, border, color, or diameter, but it may also be a slight inflammation or ulceration. The development of a new mole is also a concern. Regular spot checks are key to melanoma detection and eradication.*

Robert Benson, MD
American Board Certified Dermatologist
Dermatological Surgeon and Cosmetic Surgeon

Tangi Lifestyles October - November 2014