Any bothersome growths on the skin are best evaluated by a dermatologist to rule out skin cancer.

Many growths are benign and can be quickly and easily identified by an expert eye. Growths can be moles, cysts, skin tags, lipomas, keratoses, etc. However, the best way to determine if a growth is harmless is to have it evaluated. We recommend that everyone comes in for a full skin examination for skin cancer surveillance annually. If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer, you may need to have full skin examinations more frequently.

If a growth is concerning you, or if you simply want it removed, then you can make an appointment with Dr. Lily anytime, regardless of when your last full skin check was.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Some characteristics of skin growths are common signs of skin cancer. You should schedule an appointment if your skin lesions are new or have any of the following characteristics:

  • Changing in color, size, or texture
  • Bleeding without any trauma to the site of the growth
  • Crusting (rough or peeling)
  • Growths that do not look like any other growths on your body
  • Growths that are rapidly growing in size

Moles can also change, so we recommend that you look out for the following characteristics, as they could be signs of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. We call these alerts that ABCDE’s of melanoma:

A – Asymmetry

If you draw a line through a mole and the two halves do not match, meaning it is asymmetrical, this is a warning sign of melanoma

B – Border

The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.

C – Color

Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan, or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, white, or blue.

D – Diameter

Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the size of an eraser on your pencil (/4 inch or 6 mm), but they may be smaller when detected.

E – Evolving

When a mole is evolving in any way, you should schedule an appointment to have it evaluated by one of our providers. Any change in size, shape, color, elevation, or any other train, or a new symptom such as bleeding, itching, or crusting, suggests that the mole could be a skin cancer.

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To schedule an appointment, call (703) 356-5111.

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