Melanoma question

So I was referred today by my doctor since I noticed a mole on the left side of my foot, don’t remember if I had it for awhile or not since it’s not a area i look at all the time plus my memory isn’t that great. My sister thought it’s been there but Im not sure. The doctor said the color was too black which made her want me to get seen and the borders weren’t sharp plus it was asymmetric. I put up the picture since I really don’t know. It was measured at 2.5mm. I’m seeing the dermatologist on wednesday, but i’m still scared now and freaked out. I’m 26 and of asian indian descent.

What factor does color play into a melanoma diagnosis? Is darker usually an indicator? If it is melanoma is the fact that it’s super small in diameter good for potential staging if it unfortunately a cancer? I don’t sunbathe either or tan, no one in my family has had melanoma from what i know. My dad does have lupus with a possibly cyst on his kidney and my mom had a stage 1 pineal gland tumor that was removed for a family background.

Opinion on the picture would be helpful since I don’t know if the borders really are jagged it looks asymmetric but it seems only slightly asymmetric. It’s not itchy, bleeding or painful

My dermatologist was so concerned about an oddly colored, irregularly shaped mole of mine that he actually said it might be melanoma before he biopsied it. It turned out to be simply an oddly colored, irregularly shaped mole.

Moral of the story: don’t try to diagnose moles on the internet. Wait for the doctor to be sure.

My dermatologist was so concerned about my discoloration, s/he did two biopsies, and I started researching reconstructive surgery. Both were negative.

IIRC, it’s color, shape (irregular) and how fast it grows that play the biggest role in an office visit type diagnoses. A bioposy will, of course, be the true test. I would wager a guess that if you have a family history of cancer they might skip the biopsy and just elect to remove it rather than biopsy. They’ll still test it, but it’s easier to just get it all in one shot (could be wrong about that).
One thing I’ve often heard is to take pictures of moles that way once a year or so you can take a look at them and compare them to the old pictures to see if they’ve grown or changed shape. But don’t worry, the docs will give you more information than you know what to do with if it does turn out to be something.

Like kunilou said, let the derm do a biopsy. Cancer isn’t something you want to mess around with. Melanoma is an easy one to catch and remove before it metastasizes.

Also, if it does turn out to be some kind of cancer, something my mom’s derm and oncologist told her (when she had melanoma) was to call all of her siblings and have them get any moles checked out since it tends to run in the family.

Lastly, again, if it does turn out to be something, from this point on, if you ever have something else pop up, call the derm right away and don’t, for a second, hesitate to bring up the C word. Dermatologists usually take about 2-3 months to get in to, but as you can see, a cancer scare will get you an appointment within the week.

Just a quick question, why would a family history of cancer make them skip the biopsy? What i mean is yeah my family had tumors, but never a history of skin cancer in anyone in my immediate family, so wouldn’t a history of family skin cancer be the deciding factor not just cancer in general.

That small, they will probably remove it, family history or no.

Just speculation on my part. But if you have a family history of cancer (especially if it’s melanoma), it would increase the chance that this mole is cancerous, so instead of having you come in, do a biopsy, wait for the results, then come back in if it’s positive to have it removed, it could be cheaper to just have it removed on the first try. Especially if it’s in a place where it would really be noticed since they do dig down a bit and it can be noticeable for the first few years if it’s somewhere like on your face. It’s a bit more involved then just popping it off for cosmetic reasons.

yeah not sure, i would assume if skin cancer ran in the family thats what would make them do it since a parent or sibling having a melanoma increases the childs or siblings chance, thats why I’m hoping its nothing since no one in my family has had melanoma or any other skin cancer. I don’t think something like a pineal gland tumor in the brain would make skin cancer more likely, but once again thats just a guess on my part no idea TBH

I’ve had many moles removed, and the order of operations has always been an optional preliminary step of doing a shave biopsy–which always removes all visible portions of the mole–send that in for testing, and then if the shave biopsy didn’t get the mole in its entirety (which it almost always does), move on to step two: a deep excision. A couple of times a doctor has moved straight to deep excision.

I can’t comment on your fears about the possibility of metastasized melanoma, but as far as the shave biopsy and deep excision go, they’re nothing to be afraid of. The numbing shots are the most painful part, and healing is straightforward. And if they do a deep excision, you’ll have a cool scar for the rest of your life.

The tissue would still be examined for cancer, but they might remove the entire mole for testing, not just a part of it.

Also being on your foot there isn’t a whole lot of concern for cosmetics to not go ahead and just chop out the whole thing. I had a thing on my nose once they did a punch biopsy on because when its something on your face they don’t want to just start hacking away, it turns out not to be cancer and then you’re deformed.

Melanoma is pretty scary stuff, and there are also amelanotic melanomas so they don’t always have to be dark colored to be melanoma.

Pathologists and many dermatologists would disagree on this course of action.

*"It is not uncommon for melanomas to arise in pre-existing moles and for much of the mole to still be entirely benign. Removing the entire lesion and sending the whole thing to the pathologist is the only way to ensure that the pathologist has the best opportunity to make the correct diagnosis.

For this reason, it is only in extraordinary circumstances that I take a partial sampling of a mole. If I can’t get the whole mole out with reasonable margins using a punch excision technique, we have the patient return to excise the whole thing. However, if I believe the lesion is a melanoma, I always try to excise the lesion on the spot, no matter how big so that we can get the diagnosis ASAP."*

Partial excisions of pigmented lesions where the differential diagnosis includes melanoma, are a bad idea (similarly, sending a biopsy of such a lesion to the pathologist for frozen section diagnosis is a bad idea, given the difficulty of making a diagnosis on frozen, distorted tissue).

For the OP, I suggest getting the lesion removed in a simple, complete excision and trying not to worry for now. While irregular, large and asymmetric lesions* have a higher likelihood of being melanoma, a large percentage of them will turn out to be benign.

*color doesn’t seem to be quite as important.

Thanks for the info,

Just one question for anyone who would know.

Usually the larger it is the worse correct? Mine is 2 mm so its smaller than a pencil eraser, so would it be correct that if its small and is diagnosed as a melanoma then it would be in stage 0 or 1 usually based on how small it is? Since I was looking online and it said usually they’re 5-6mm at the smallest

What you see is what’s visible, what’s on top.

Melanomas typically start on the surface, but they can have an extensive spread under the surface where you may not be able to see it. Hence the need to do more than simply scrape off the surface of the mole. You want to make sure it isn’t starting to spread underneath, or is larger than it initially appears due to some of it being hidden.

I understand that, but usually they mentioned bigger than 6mm correct? So thats why i was asking if if its less than half of 6, which mine is would that mean it would be more likely to be a beginning stage if it was a positive result