Melanoma Awareness, Preventative Tips

An 'Ugly Duckling' mole may be Melanoma

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 02/10/13

This new method of detecting melanomas is based on the concept that the majority of melanomas look different – i.e., “the ugly duckling” – compared to surrounding lesions. Thus, during skin examinations, patients and doctors should be looking for lesions that manifest the ABCDE’s AND for lesions that look different compared to surrounding moles.

Thinking of “the ugly duckling” mole, aka “the outlier”, is the one that, at a given moment, looks or feelsdifferent from other moles, or that over time, changes differently than other moles. The “ugly duckling” methodology may be especially useful in the detection of nodular melanoma, a dangerous type of melanoma, which notoriously lacks the classic ABCDE signs.

These three different scenarios depict “ugly ducklings” moles that should prompt suspicion. Squares A, B, and C each represent a body area such as the back.

  • In A, there is a dominant mole pattern with slight variation in size. The “ugly duckling” is clearly darker and larger than all other moles.
  • In B, there are two predominant patterns, one of larger moles and the other of smaller, darker moles. The “ugly duckling” is small but lacks pigmentation.
  • In C, there is only one lesion on the back. If this lesion is changing, symptomatic, or deemed atypical, you should have it examined by a medical professional.

The take home message: if you see a mole that looks different from the surrounding moles on your skin, or is changing then you should make an appointment with MoleMap (0800 MOLEMAP or book online) or your doctor immediately.

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