June 8, 2010

SHOULD DERMATOLOGISTS POINT OUT SUSPICIOUS MOLES they see on passersby? In the comments, Freeman Hunt observes:

Yes, it is the right thing to do.

Perhaps if some dermatologist had noticed the bad mole on the back of my father’s head and said something to him, he wouldn’t have melanoma spreading throughout his liver and lungs right now.

Another reader comments:

It was over the course of a few years that I noticed a strangely colored, irregular mole on the back of the neck of a client/associate.

Repeatedly, I almost said something, but every time I just assumed his wife must have noticed it and he had it checked out. So, who was I to bring it up? Within a few years he was dead of melanoma.

I mentioned an iffy mole to a dive guide last month. She looked vaguely irritated and said “it’s been checked dozens of times.” But better safe than sorry — it was huge and odd-looking.

On the other hand, don’t take health advice from Sex and the City.

UPDATE: Oncologist David McCune writes:

In case your readers would like an easy way to remember the characteristics of a mole with a higher risk of melanoma, think “ABCD”.

A – asymmetry (one half different from the other)
B – border irregularity (edges notched, uneven, or blurred)
C – color that is uneven
D – diameter greater than 6mm

Worth noting. Easy to treat if you catch early, really nasty if you don’t.

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