Can a small dark spot inside a mole possibly mean melanoma?
Unfortunately, the answer is YES — it can be an early sign of this deadly skin cancer that can sneak up on people.
“Any area of excess pigmentation in an existing mole can be an early sign of skin cancer,” says Dr. Rebecca Tung, MD, director of the dermatology division at Loyola University Health System, Chicago.
“Similarly focal bleeding or scabbing can also be worrisome signs that a mole is undergoing malignant change.
“Getting this mole looked at by a dermatologist would be a good idea to find out whether or not the mole is okay or not.”
You should have a dermatologist check your skin, including your scalp, on an annual basis.
Even if your primary care specialist performs a skin check, they don’t have the training that a dermatologist has.
What to Do
Ideally, have both your primary care doctor and dermatologist perform the clinical skin exam, because two pairs of medical eyes are always better than one pair.
The doctor will not only check all throughout your scalp, but on the soles of your feet and between your toes.
Request that your dermatologist use a “dermatoscope,” sometimes also called a dermascope.
This device provides lighting and magnification, enabling the doctor to get a much more detailed look at moles and other spots on your skin.
Dr. Tung’s specialties include general dermatology with skin cancer surveillance, moles, melanoma, surgery (Mohs micrographic, laser, skin cancer reconstruction) and cosmetic dermatology.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.