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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Medical Doctor
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 5122
Experience:  20 Years in Internal Medicine, Neurology and Sports Medicine
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Blonde haired blue eyed male who grew up in California and

Customer Question

Blonde haired blue eyed male who grew up in California and has one tanning approximately 20 times. Aunt had a melanoma removed from her leg a few years ago; and I know I'm at a high risk for eventually developing one. I understand these can grow and spread extremely fast and am planning on visiting a Derm every 4 months in perpetuity. Is that enough?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dermatology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 months ago.

Yes. That should be more than adequate, especially if you learn what to look for yourself. This would allow you to get the earliest jump on any suspicious lesion.

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 months ago.

The ABCDE’s of Melanoma: By doing a simple skin self-exam every month, you can improve your chances of finding a melanoma early.

(A) Asymmetry: One half of the area does not match the other half.

(B) Border: The edges are uneven or ragged.

(C) Color: The color is not the same all over and may have more than one shade or color present.

(D) Diameter: The size is larger than a pencil eraser (6 millimeters).

(E) Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape or color.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
This pathology scares me sick. I know there are some variations of it that don't follow the typical ABCDE rule. How can I further ensure that even if I develop one, I keep it from developing beyond Stage 1? I know they can grow and metastasize rediculouslt fast. Thus, if I want to be extremely conservative, borderline OCD about it, would additional annual exams and having wide local excursions performed on all even somewhat questionable moles help?
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 months ago.

Seeing a specialist on a regular basis is the most important thing you can do, in addition to the self exam (and using sunscreen when outdoors, of course).

If there is a suspicious lesion, the dermatologist can do a punch biopsy (or excisional biopsy) to look for cancer cells. If present, the lesion can be removed with wide margins, and those margins can be checked by a pathologist to ensure that they are clean.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank your sir! Can you give me an idea of maybe how significantly I've raised my risk for developing this? There are a lot of overwhelming statistics out there that can cause a lot of anxiety, but the more I look at it, there is not a lot of relative risk taken into consideration.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 months ago.

Statistically, melanoma is pretty rare at your age. Risk increases with positive family history and history of multiple sunburn events. Even so, the risk is estimated to be about 1 in 300 as per one reference. You are taking the right measures to mitigate this risk. This puts YOUR risk of something bad happening at a much lower level than the average 25 year old, who is more likely to not notice, or to ignore, a suspicious lesion.

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 5 months ago.

Hi there. If you have any follow up questions, do let me know. I'd be happy to help further.

Regards,

Doctor Bob