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Mole Check

A common mole (nevus) is a small growth on the skin that is usually pink, tan, or brown and has a distinct edge. People who have more than 50 common moles have a greater chance of developing melanoma (a dangerous type of skin cancer).  Most common moles do not turn into melanoma.

A dysplastic nevus is an unusual mole that is often large and flat and does not have a symmetric round or oval shape. The edge is often indistinct. It may have a mixture of pink, tan, or brown shades. People who have many dysplastic nevi have a greater chance than others of developing melanoma, but most dysplastic nevi do not turn into melanoma. If the color, size, shape, or height of a mole changes or if it starts to itch, bleed, or ooze, people should tell their doctor. People should also tell their doctor if they see a new mole that doesn’t look like their other moles. The only way to diagnose melanoma is to remove tissue and check it for cancer cells.

Skin Exams

During a physical exam for a skin problem, your doctor will examine the skin over your whole body, looking for suspicious growths, moles, or lesions. The exam is performed using a bright light and occasionally a magnifying lens. The scalp is examined by parting the hair. A skin exam is done if you have: suspicious moles or skin lesions; symptoms of early skin cancer; a history of previous skin cancer; 50 or more moles; atypical moles (dysplastic nevi); or a family history of skin cancer. Early signs of skin cancer are a change in the skin, such as a growth, an irritation or a sore that does not heal, or a change in a wart or a mole.

The ABCDE rule of detection means watching for:

  • Asymmetry. One half of the mole doesn’t match the other half.
  • Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • Color. The pigmentation is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to the mottled appearance. Changes in color distribution, especially the spread of color from the edge of a mole into the surrounding skin, also are an early sign of melanoma.
  • Diameter. The mole or skin growth is larger than 6 mm (0.2 in.), or about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be of concern.
  • Evolution. There is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or color.

Other signs of melanoma in a mole include changes in:

  • Elevation, such as thickening or raising of a previously flat mole.
  • Surface, such as scaling, erosion, oozing, bleeding, or crusting.
  • Surrounding skin, such as redness, swelling, or small new patches of color around a larger lesion (satellite pigmentations).
  • Sensation, such as itching, tingling, or burning.
  • Consistency, such as softening or small pieces that break off easily (friability).

Other signs of skin cancer

  • A firm, transparent bump laced with tiny blood vessels in thin red lines (telangiectasias).
  • A reddish or irritated patch of skin.
  • A new, smooth skin bump (nodule) with a raised border and indented center.
  • A smooth, shiny, or pearly bump that may look like a mole or cyst.
  • A shiny area of tight-looking skin, especially on the face, that looks like a scar and has poorly defined edges.
  • An open sore that oozes, bleeds, or crusts and has not healed in 3 weeks.
  • A persistent red bump on sun-exposed skin.
  • A sore that does not heal or an area of thickened skin on the lower lip, especially if you smoke or use chewing tobacco, or your lips are exposed to the sun and wind.

What to Think About

Photographs may be used to document and detect changes in the skin, especially atypical moles. Some medical centers use computers to compare photographs taken at an earlier exam with new photographs of suspicious moles and lesions. This technique may more accurately determine whether a mole or lesion is changing.

Doctors don’t have to do a biopsy to see if a lesion is benign (noncancerous). They may use a dermatoscope to see spots on the skin. This tool’s special magnifying lens and light source help the doctor see the skin more clearly. Also, with a method called confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), doctors can look even more closely at changes in the cells and tissue of the skin.

Some experts think it’s a good idea to check your own skin every month and have your doctor check periodically. People who are at risk for skin cancer or those who are over 40 years old may want to have their doctor check their skin every year. If you have already had skin cancer, your doctor will recommend more frequent exams.

If you have moles, contact us today to schedule your consultation with world-renowned board-certified dermatologist Dr. Patrick Bitter, Jr. Call us at 408-358-5757 or fill out our online contact form today!

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Speaking Schedule


March 22-25, 2018
Los Angeles Multi-Speciality Cosmetic Academy
Los Angeles. CA

February 22-25, 2018
California Society of Facial Plastic Surgery
Skin Aging, Facial Plastic & Aesthetic Surgery
Lake Tahoe, CA

January 19 – 21, 2018
Advanced Aesthetics & Cosmetic Dermatology 2018

Marina Del Rey, CA

December 13 – 16, 2017
American Academy Anti Aging A4M Annual World Congress

Las Vegas, Nevada

November 18, 2017
Dr. Bitter Teaches at the Ultimate Aesthetic Training Workshop

Dr. Bitter teaches his Top 10 things you may not know IPL can do and his exclusive 3 keys to success with fillers.
Beverly Hills, CA

November 12, 2017
Sciton Summit 2017

Advanced Forever Young BBL Treatments – The Future Today & Introduction to ForeverClear BBL – Acne Treatments with BBL
Dallas, TX

November 3 – 5, 2017
19th Annual Scientific Meeting

The Keys to Success w/ Fillers & Combining IPL & Laser/RF Treatments & 12 new uses of IPL
Newport Beach, CA

Bright Lights Big City – The BBL Tour 2017
Master the BBL FotoFacial®
One-Day Master Course with Dr. Patrick Bitter, Jr.

September 5 – 7th, 2017
Moscow, Russia

Saturday, September 9, 2017
Toronto, Canada

Saturday, September 23, 2017
Washington, D.C.

Saturday, October 21, 2017
Minneapolis, MN

Friday, November 10, 2017
Dallas, TX

October 16, 2017
Forever Clear Webinar
5pm – 6pm

October 12 – 14, 2017
Aesthetic Extender Symposium

Hollywood, FL

September 14 – 16, 2017
A4m Aesthetic Fellowship Module: Aesthetic Treatments utilizing laser, light & Energy

Chicago, IL

August 31 – September 3, 2017
8th 5 Continental Congress

Topics Included:  Techniques for eliminating bothersome lines with filler.
Three Keys to Success with Fillers and Optimizing Patients Outcomes
Barcelona, Spain

June/July 2017
Faculty Lecturer at The Aesthetic Show
Speaking on the Advanced Injectables and Techniques with host Dr. Andrew Ordon.


Dr. Bitter is a sought after speaker and a nationally renowned expert and lecturer on many topics including FotoFacial®, BBL, skin rejuvenation, and the new ManUp!™ and LoveTyte™. If you are interested in attending one of his training’s or conferences, call 408-358-5757 or email abla@patirickbitterjrmd.com


To learn more about world renowned dermatologist Dr. Patrick Bitter Jr’s online training courses, contact him at (408) 358-5757 or opt in to our training notifications here.

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