Dermatofibroma vs. Nodular Melanoma?

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7/5/2011 8:58pm
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Replies: 6

Wondering if anyone knows if there are specific characteristics that distinguish clearly between the two (dermatofibroma vs. Nodular Melanoma)?  I have a history of several dysplatic (i call them my "crazy moles"!) removed in last 5 years, with the worst one on my back which came back as Melanoma In problems in last 3 years, then recently (in last 2 months) a new "growth" on my right shin emerged.  I'm having it removed/biopsy in a couple of's growing, sort of tan color, like a mole, but there any specific characteristics that tell these 2 apart from visual appearance?  thx!

I know that when my derm looks at mine, he has commented on different characteristics of dermatofibromas.  However, not sure you'll be able to tell for sure yourself without the biopsy.  I know that mine seem different than my moles and I can tell which is which on my body.  Some of mine are flat, some are raised.  However, not sure how to translate that to you.  I do know that the most likely place for a dermatofibroma is the legs.  They are thought to be caused by bug bites.  I've had several removed (all on my legs) because I managed to shave them off regularly.  It's a lot more likely that your growth is a dermatofibroma than a nodular melanoma.  It's really not that common to have more than one melanoma primary!

Best wishes,


Thx Janner.  this one just sort of "popped up" out of no where, and I didn't have it when we were on Spring Break in FL (as I lotion up of course!), and it's certainly not like any of my moles I've ever had...I have very fair skin, and when my "crazy moles" were noticed and taken off, they all fit the "ABCDE" of current a current mole....I've never had one just pop up like this, so it's sort of foreign to me...interesting tho' as my 2 daughters (I have 4 kids, all who have some sort of crazy skin stuff!), my (then 5 year old) daughter had a growth pop up on her chin/face...was surgically removed and was found to be a Spitz other daughter had a long standing growth on her lower shin, turned out to be who knows, huh?!  crazy stuff....:)  I'm not going to worry, I'm not going to worry (repeat, repeat!)...thx again!

Hi! I'm praying yours truly is a dermatofibroma but please go have it biopsied as soon as you can. I am a 28 year old female with no history of melanoma. I had what they first diagnosed as a bug bite, then as a wart and then after 4 months a dermatofibroma. The fourth doctor told me it was cosmetic and that I would have to pay to remove it because my insurance didn't cover "cosmetic surgery". Turns out that it was nodular melanoma. By the time they took it off it was 2.5 mm and i was already stage 3a. I had it for 6 months total and it came "out of nowhere".  It was on my left foot by my toes but on top. It was perfectly symmetrical and the exact same color  as my skin (light tan). I always wish i could have gone back 4 months earlier and demanded they take it off, even though they made me feel stupid for making such a big deal about it. Please do yourself a favor and have them biopsy it soon. That can sleep soundly again if it is nothing and catch it early if it is something.


Best wishes.


Jenjen 3a NED almost 2 years

Wow, it always amazes me how many different ways melanoma can appear. Yours was just a flesh colored bump by your toes ? Who would have thought it was anything? And already stage 3 by the time it was found.

Mine appeared like a "normal" nodular and red crusty bump on my scalp, 6mm x 4mm. I don't know how long it was there since it was covered by hair and not being able to see the back of my head even if I had tried.

Still, the physician's assistant I went to didn't want to do anything, just measure it and see me back in one month. Another PA who happened to come into the room insisted I get a biopsy asap.

Nicki, Stage 3b

Be strong and take heart, all you who HOPE in the Lord. Ps. 31:24

I had a nodular melanoma removed off my back in January. Last September, my dermatologist said it was a sebacous cyst and waited until late January to remove it!  Mine was a bump protruding from my back, hard as rock and very red. To me, this was not the makings of what I thought was melanoma.  If I should EVER see a bump anywhere on my body, it's coming off pronto! 

It makes me so angry that a dermatologist could make me wait for almost 5 months to get something sinister looking removed.  By the time it was removed, it doubled in size and was 22mm deep!!  I'm now stage 4........

Many impossible things have been accomplished for those who refuse to quit

Wow!  That just seems so it sounds like the biopsy is the really only thing to know for sure.  Thankfully my Dermatologist is pretty conservative and I know she will remove for biopsy.  I've never had anything like ths b4 just sort of appear out of no where like this...and it's definitely growing...My dr. appt is 7/26, and thankfully my hubby and I are leaving town b4 that to celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary!  I hate the waite and worry part of this....Best wishes and prayers to you all fighting this horrible disease!