Briefly, I am a 38 year old woman with moderate risk for melanoma. I have several atypical moles that I monitor with six monthly checkups (along with a full body check). I've had several moles and other suspicious lesions removed but never a diagnosis of anything.
Two weeks ago I was examining my back after a fall and one of my moles looked like it had changed so I went to my dermatologist. He saw nothing suspicious but removed it because of my "anxiety" as he put it.
My last full body check was in late May and my then dr. did not find anything suspicious at that point either.
My question is, could a new mole have popped up in a few months, or could an existing mole have changed in that time into a melanoma? Another question is, can a melanoma look like an atypical mole or does the atypical mole become a melanoma?
The mole in question was about 5 mm, almost completely flat, a uniform light brown and basically round except for one tiny area that had a bit of white with a brown dot and slightly irregular, blurred border.
I don't know if this is new or not, hence the visit to the derm. He did not think it looked concerning, he just confirmed that, yes, I have several weird looking moles, this is one, but nothing to worry about, just monitor. But he'll take it off if I "can't sleep at night."
Any insight would be appreciated! I'm supposed to get my results today or tomorrow and am anxious. I'm worried this is not a mole but melonoma and my other doctor overlooked/misdiagnosed it.
Well, you get your biopsy back today or tomorrow, so your question will be answered then. I always tell people, get the results of your biopsy first, then find out if you should worry.
To answer your question - "...could a new mole have popped up in a few months, or could an existing mole have changed in that time into a melanoma?"
Short answer is yes. HOWEVER, a new mole developing in a short amount of time does not necessarily mean it is cancerous. And even a mole that changes does not mean it is melanoma. Please keep in mind that melanoma is actually not the most common of skin cancers, and most biopsies come back negative.
The answers to your other question - "...can a melanoma look like an atypical mole or does the atypical mole become a melanoma?"
Answers are yes, and may be. Melanoma can certainly look like an atypical mole - which is why they are often suspect. My melanoma did not fit the A B C D E's of melanoma at all - however, it looked entirely too "perfect" as opposed to looking atypical. Go figure.
Atypical moles have the possibility of becoming melanoma, but it is not always a given. I had 3 moles that were exceptionally atypical - they fit ALL the A B C D E's of melanoma! Two of them even itched at times! Doctors kept telling me they were "nothing." I finally insisted they be removed because I just "knew." Turned out the biopsies for all three were negative - they were simply atypical. Could any of them possibly, at some point in the future become cancerous? Yes...or no. There is absolutely no way to tell. Other than to keep watching them and waiting for changes.
Fact is, something like 96%+ of the population has at least one atypical mole on their body. It will simply stay atypical all their lives and never bother them or become an issue. But, for the few who are at risk, that atypical mole may - MAY - become cancerous (melanoma). Therefore, it is important to lessen one's risk (lessen sun exposure, tanning beds) for those who are fair-skinned and use protection, and to generally keep in good health, and get regular skin checks. And if certain moles or lesions concern you, insist they be removed and biopsied.
Chances are you will be fine. I would try to concentrate on waiting until you get the results back first. That will tell you if you truly need to worry or not.