A new appearing dark spot on your lip can be melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, says a dermatologist.

But a new appearing dark spot on the lip can have benign causes.

The older you are, the more concerning a new appearance of any kind of “freckle” or “mole” is.

Dr. Janet Prystowsky is a board certified dermatologist in New York, NY, with 30+ years’ experience.

She says that a dark spot on the lower lip usually is not a melanoma, but at the same time, you should have a dermatologist obtain a biopsy.

“Lip cancers metastasize [spread] more readily than other skin cancers,” says Dr. Prystowsky. A melanoma on the lip, therefore, “has a much higher risk of causing death.”

Do not let fear of a scar from a biopsy stop you from getting this procedure done.

A dark spot on the lip is suspicious for melanoma if it has the following features, says Dr. Prystowsky.

It’s new, rather than always having been there for as long as you can remember. As mentioned, concern is heightened the older you are.

“Has it been growing or changing in some way?” she questions. If the answer is affirmative, this could signal a problem.

Bleeding is another factor. If you pick at a benign lesion, it could bleed, but in melanoma, the bleeding comes more readily.

“Does it have an irregular appearance or border?” asks Dr. Prystowsky.

If you bisect it from any point, are the sides notably unequal?

Does the border look serrated or erratic?

Is it more than a few millimeters, and especially, has it been getting bigger over just a few months?

Does this dark spot on your lip have one or more other colors in it? For instance, is part of it blue, white or red?

Don’t try to self-diagnose.

Though the absence of some features may bring reassurance that the dark spot on your lip is not a melanoma, only a biopsy could rule it out for sure, though the benign “venous lake” (blood vessel concentration that forms a dark spot) can be diagnosed without a biopsy. A “melanocytic macule” is also benign.

In combination with her focus on early skin cancer detection and removal, Dr. Prystowsky provides a wide range of revitalizing and rejuvenating treatments.
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.  


Top image: Shutterstock/New Africa

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