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May 21, 2014 / molehunter

The deadly pimple

The following item is lifted from

if anyone objects I’ll take this down but I preferred to paste the whole item as it reads well. This confirms what I teach (as I was taught) about the danger of the seemingly innocuous solitary red growing lump in the skin which is sometimes a non pigmented melanoma.

 

>>>>>DERMATOLOGISTS have raised the alarm on an aggressive form of melanoma that looks like a harmless pimple but kills hundreds of Australians a year.

Diagnosis delays mean people with the cancer are six times more likely to die than from other melanomas.

It usually appears on the skin as a red nodule rather than an ugly dark mole, leading doctors to mistake it for relatively harmless forms of skin cancer or even a pimple.

But it’s aggressive and needs removal within three months, says Associate Professor John Kelly, a speaker at the annual scientific meeting of the Australasian College of Dermatologists in Melbourne.

It is responsible for only 15 per cent of melanoma cases but causes 43 per cent of melanoma deaths.

In Australia, that’s around 550 deaths a year. But health professionals in general are not aware of what to look for, says Prof Kelly.

“The patient is often told there is nothing to worry about.”

Prof Kelly wants doctors and patients to take urgent action if there’s a ball on the skin that becomes bigger over a couple of months. Some of it is under the skin and some is above.

“If it has has been present for more than a month and grows bigger and bigger, it needs urgent removal.

“But we don’t want to cause hysteria about every red nodule that people get.

“Something that has been stable for more than a year is not going to be a worry. And something that has been present of only days or weeks is probably also not a worry.”<<<

Wise words IMHO. Although I am a keen advocate of dermoscopy, it is only useful as part of a holistic and educated approach to skin cancer diagnosis. There are subtle dermoscopic signs of these very dangerous non pigmented melanomas, essentially bizarre vessels or some residual pigment at the edge, but these features can’t be relied upon. A steadily growing pink lump in the skin is a ‘red flag’ warning sign that probably needs urgent appraisal by an experienced dermatologist.

 

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