DermTV – The Easiest Way to Identify a Precancerous Mole [ Epi #361]

DermTV – The Easiest Way to Identify a Precancerous Mole [ Epi #361]

Hello, I’m Dr. Neal Schultz [pause] And welcome to DermTV. DermTV, The Skin Cancer Foundation, the American Academy of Dermatology, The American Cancer Society, and many other leading authorities all stress the importance
of self examinations as an aid to the early detection of cancer since the earlier you find it, the more apt
it is to be completely curable. So this episode is going to be about a trick for doing better self skin cancer exams. Generally speaking, in most medical issues, symmetry is a reliable indicator that something
isn’t dangerous. So, in doing a self skin exam, if you find
a mole or growth that is symmetric, then it is probably normal and not cancerous or precancerous. And just to remind you, a growth is symmetrical if you can fold it down the middle and the two halves are identical. Just like when I fold this circle in half. Yet in all of medicine there is only one situation
that I know of where symmetry actually is a bad sign and usually indicates that something is abnormal and in fact at very least, precancerous. That situation occurs when two moles occur
symmetrically to each other on your body. So imagine a line drawn down the center of
your body, which of course goes right through your belly
button. If you have two moles on your stomach, both about equal distance to the left and
right of your bellybutton, then there is a very high probability that
both of those moles are precancerous and each have a 20 to 25%
life time probability of becoming melanomas. They should be shown to a dermatologist and probably be removed. The bottom line is that moles which are symmetric
to each other with respect to the midline of your body are
usually very dangerous, precancerous moles which if not removed have an unacceptably high probability of becoming
deadly melanomas, a cancer that sadly claims the life of one
American every hour. This is a truly rare medical example of symmetry being very dangerous, so if you come across it, show it to your

43 thoughts on “DermTV – The Easiest Way to Identify a Precancerous Mole [ Epi #361]

  1. Thank you! Very interesting. I have soo many moles on my body :S Is it dangerouse? Only on my arm from hand to albow I counted 25 little moles. Is peorson who has many moles more likely to get skin canser or any skin problems?
    Big thanks from Russia.

  2. Ow, how interesting! You made me very, VERY curious on the medical reasons behind this "symetrical moles" theory!How does this work? Maybe explain this in a future video?

  3. Dear Doctor Schultz , Can you please do a video explaining why moles increase in number on our skin as we age ? I remember having few moles as a child but now that I am getting older I notice more and more moles appearing , is it my imagination or is this normal ? Also , my math teacher had an incredible amount of moles over almost all his body and I've seen few people like him , is this genetic or is it caused by a certain illness ? Thank you so much

  4. i have a big mole on my lower back. it has moved and changed colour over the years, it is also raised two milimeters. should i get it removed? i also have a similar one on my thigh, it hasn't changed colour or changed shape but it's raised two millimeters. what should i do?

  5. @adinaciciovan It;s interesting how you know about your math teacher's whole body… Is there some story behind this that you are not telling us? 😛

  6. @CatAiLin
    I'm the same. You need to be more careful about wearing sunscreen. Also, make sure you look at them so that, if one of them starts changing shape, you notice right away…
    I see a dermatologist once every 1 or 2 years to have them checked too since I have so many…

  7. @showerdancer1
    Ask your family MD and if s/he is suspicious, get referred to a dermatologist. You can't be assessed without a visual.
    Also, major darkening or significant color bleeding outside of the mole edges are usually worrysome and should be checked and might be removed & tested as a prevention…
    Hope this helps

  8. I'm just wondering: I don't have very many moles, but I have in total 10 on my face. 3 of them have been there as long as I can remember. 2 of these are exactly symmetrical to each other, but not the same size. one is not round, but rather like a triangle or something. Should I check them out?

  9. I'm just wondering: I don't have many moles on my body, but in total 10 on my face. 3 of them have been there as long as I can remember, 2 of these are exactly symmetrical, but not the same size. They are not big at all. One isn't round, but rather a triangle form or something. Should I get them checked?

  10. @yoolka05 Ha Ha ! It's not really like that 🙂 My math teacher is actually a relative , he is my uncle …He told me once when he came to visit my family , he said that his body was covered in an enormous amount of moles ( which is very visible ) and that he was suffering because of this since he was 8……..

  11. @ThePinkHeel Thanks! I use to tane a lot without wearing sunscreen at all. I guess that's how I got most of my moles aspetially on my sholders. I am more carefull now.

  12. Just a heads up for anyone whom might be reading this, moles aren't something to be pushed aside for later… I've had two checked in my lifetime that I pushed aside for months at one point and years for the second and they were both precancerous.

    Speaking from personal experience if you're unsure about a mole or lesion do not push it aside and think nothing of it because it might end up being too late for you. I'm going to be doing annual check ups myself from now on.

  13. So if you actually have a mole on your right leg on the left side for example, then have the same mole on your left leg, right side for example and because they would be not mistakenly symmetrical, they would actually become dangerous or precancerous for real?

  14. So I have a mole that is a dark brown ball popping out, and a lighter shade of brown from its 3 sides, I told my parents about it but they won't take me srsly

  15. Thank you! Overnight a pinhead size, raised, brown dot appeared on my thumb. It is very symmetrical. I'll still show it to my doctor. But, must be a sudden mole that appeared within hours?

  16. I have 2 moles that are like he described but it is also both a circle and I don’t know if they are moles because it’s almost the same color as my skin and it’s on my chin. Could it be just acne? I am in my teen years

  17. I have never, ever heard of two moles on equal opposite sides of the stomach being more likey to be pre-cancerous, nor can I find a single source or study anywhere to back up this claim.

  18. wish he showed a picture example, so if i have two moles on each side of my neck, is that the kind of symmetry he is talking about?

  19. I feel so reassured by Dr. Schultz's assertion that Melanoma "sadly claims the life of one AMERICAN every hour" … thankfully I'm British, so it won't affect me. Thank you Dr Schultz.

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