View Full Version : Is this something to be worried about? Please help, very scared!

02-15-2009, 09:47 PM
Hi, I am a 27 year old female. About two weeks ago I noticed a spot on my back that looks unusual. It looked more red and flaky to begin with but I have put lotion on it and it has turned more brown now. It may have been there longer than 2 weeks, that is just when I happened to notice it. I have been so worried and have scheduled a dermatologist appointment but cannot get in until the middle of March. I have uploaded a photo and would ask if you could give me your opinion, if it is something I should be worried about. I know there are some others here dealing with skin cancer right now or have in the past and just wondered if mine appears to be suspicious? Thanks to all.

02-17-2009, 01:31 PM
There are different types of skin cancers, and you don't state whether or not you are in a risk category for any of these cancers. So, let me begin by stating if you are fair-skinned, sunburn easily, have red or blond hair then you are at a higher risk for melanoma. (If you have a darker skin color, don't consider yourself completely immune to melanoma, however, but your risk is less) If you expose your skin to the sun without protection, or use tanning beds quite frequently, you may also be at risk. And, to add to this, melanoma is the most common cancer among young women between the ages 25 - 29. However, melanoma is not all that common.

Melanoma has certain characteristics, called the "ABCDE's" that usually indicate its presence. Mine really didn't except for "E" which didn't show up until right before I went for my biopsy. But, these are a good guideline, and they are as follows:

1. Asymmetry - moles that are not symmetrical, or completely even in shape.

2. Border - moles whose borders are not clearly defined, but jagged and ill-formed.

3. Color - moles that are very dark - black, not just dark brown. There might be what appears to be a white or blue center, though this will be small, and sometimes you might think it's a trick of the light.

4. Diameter - moles that are large, much larger than normal. Anything that is a 1/4" is considered unusual and should be looked at. This is about the size of a pencil eraser.

5. Elevation - moles that are raised, or elevated. A mole might be slightly raised and be normal. However, melanoma will often be very elevated, more like a small bump.

If any one of these characteristics is present, you should see a doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible. What you describe doesn't sound like melanoma, but basal or squamous cell carcinoma can sometimes be red and flakey. Basal and squamous cell cancers should not be discounted, but are usually not as deadly as melanoma and more easily treated. However, they typically appear later in life and in most (not all) cases are a result of sun damage.

And then, you might simply have a small patch of red, flakey skin. I've had a couple of those as well. The dermatologist froze them off for me.

My suggestion would be if the item on your back does not meet any of the characteristics of melanoma, relax. Well, I'd relax either way, as there isn't much you can do now, is there? ;) You state your derm appointment is in mid-March, and that's about 4 weeks away? Give or take? You will be fine until then. Just be sure you monitor whatever this item is on your back until your appointment. If you notice a change, mark it down. Be certain you can give the dermatologist a full history, if s/he asks for it. Chances are, your derm will be able to tell you what it is before you will be able to explain what is going on.

Good luck, and kudos to you for checking your skin! Not enough young females do that, IMO!