Mole with a black spot

Posted By
11/1/2010 2:16am
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Replies: 16

I've had a fairly large mole on my back for as long as I could remember, I've never really given it a good look until recently however. Over the past year I've spent a great deal of time in bed on the computer, lying on my back, and one day I noticed my mole was "stinging". I checked it out in the mirror and noticed there was a black spot on the mole, taking up maybe 20% of it. I figured I'd watch it and see how it does before going to a doctor. 

It's been 3 months and I don't think it's grown much, if any, at least not in width. It has a very "mole" like feel to it, and I can move it around a lot with my finger, I don't find it particularly odd except for that black spot. It doesn't sting anymore. If it grew at all over the past 3 months it might have gotten a bit "puffier". Unfortunately melanoma is often multicolored, and thats exactly what the problem is. And nodular melanoma grows in depth, not width, so that scares me too =( 

I tried making a dermatologist appointment but my medicaid requires me to get a referral, and I don't have a primary care doctor. I probably won't get to a dermatologist for another week or two because of this. I know it's critical to get early treatment of melanoma, so this is upsetting me greatly. I'm getting really anxious thinking about cancer, and would like someone to just take a look at at a picture of the mole and let me know what they think. 

Also if anyone knows a way for me to get a referral I'd really appreciate that too. 

thanks so much to whoever helps out, I'm hoping for someone knowledgeable to come along and ease my nerves, haha

bcl - (11/1/2010 - 4:02am)

Hi please take a deep breath, I know you're scared - personally  I think it's ok to wait a week or two for the derm appointment, where I live that's normal. ( Heck it's great:) 

I'm glad it's not stinging anymore, my mole stung when the sun hit it, then started itching many months later.. yet even after all that time wasted I was fortunate to be diagnosed with an early stage. Don't get me wrong, I am not recommending waiting  ... just letting you know, even if it is a melanoma,  they don't all grow quickly.

Let us know what the doctor says.. and if possible, please do not agree to a shave biopsy; they can confuse the depth if it is a cancer.

And I'm afraid I'm in Canada so can't help with the referral question.. but I'm sure others will post tomorrow, take care, linda

llmercll - (11/1/2010 - 4:22am)


After doing more research, and telling by the picture, am I correct in thinking it's either a Dysplastic/Compund nevus or cancer?
Theres no way a normal healthy mole can just get discolored, right?

llmercll - (11/1/2010 - 4:50am)

I hate to keep posting but I have more information. 

I had blood work done early September and all my results were perfect. Would my white blood cell count or anything in the cbc be off if say I did have cancer, and it spread to lymph nodes or was at a more serious stage? 

I'm also a bit of a hypochondriac, but look at that mole, anyone would be worried! (i think)

llmercll - (11/1/2010 - 4:50am)

I hate to keep posting but I have more information. 

I had blood work done early September and all my results were perfect. Would my white blood cell count or anything in the cbc be off if say I did have cancer, and it spread to lymph nodes or was at a more serious stage? 

I'm also a bit of a hypochondriac, but look at that mole, anyone would be worried! (i think)

lhaley - (11/1/2010 - 9:15am)

Don't freak!!

I've had 7 primaries and about 40 other moles taken off of my body. Some of the 40 were severly dysplastic and needed more removed, some were just atypical.  I sent my husband for an emergency dermatology appointment. We didn't need a referral and it still took 3 weeks and that was with the second derm I called. All of his were fine. What 'm trying to say is not all things that change are melanoma. Here, I watched his mole change and it still wasn't mel.

Blood work will not tell you if the mole is cancerous. I've been stage IV for over 4 years now and my blood work comes back perfect. On this board those who have shown problematic blood work is usually those with melanoma in their liver or other major organ. As a matter of fact I only have my blood work done now when I'm having surgery done!

You should have a primary Dr. so do find one (that might take a week or more to get fit in) have them do the referral. When they do remove it ask for an exsional biopsy, not a scoop. 

Wishing you the best, let us know the results.


llmercll - (11/1/2010 - 7:09pm)

can they do the Excisional biopsy in the dermatologists office, like the shave biopsy? or does it involve an OR and general anesthesia?


lhaley - (11/1/2010 - 7:56pm)

All of mine have been done in the Dr. office and not under anesthesia. Many do a punch biopsy which only requires a stitch or two!!  Shave is what you don't want!!  I have to tell you that when I had an hmo insurance I even had a biopsy done in the primary care Drs. office.  This one ended up being mel and I went on to a melanoma clinic for the wide excision.  Actually my first mel was also discovered by a primary Dr. and biopsied -   that was in 1979 . 

Most biopsies are quick and with a little numbing medicine are over quickly. Having a good dermopathologist to read the slides is important.  Expect it to take a week or even longer to get the results!!


llmercll - (11/1/2010 - 8:16pm)

judging by my mole, if anyone has even looked at the pictures =(, I should probably get a biopsy done no matter what, right? Someone on another forum said the doctor told them they didn't need a biopsy and just to watch it, but he insisted and got the bipsy done that day. its a good thing he did because it turned out to be stage 3 melanoma!!!

Would you recommend the punch or excisional? I know to stay away from shave, but is the excisional basically a diagnosis AND cure all in one procedure (if its cancer)? or would they want to bring me back in and take out more flesh no matter what method they used?

thanks for all your help so far. I can't say I feel much better though. From the sounds of it any mole, even with the slightest change or discoloration could be mel, and not even a trained dermatologist can diagnoses without looking under a microscope =(

lhaley - (11/1/2010 - 10:02pm)

I think punch is what most on the board goes with. No matter what, if it comes back as mel or severly dysplastic they will take a wide excision at another time.  I've had a few punch but the rest have been excisional. 

I did look at your picture but like I said, I've rushed my husband into the derms office and everything was ok. It's difficult to tell from a picture.  Some derms will take off anything you request and some won't. I actually changed derms because one would not take something off for me. Another derm removed it and it ended up being totally normal. 

What part of the country do you live in?


llmercll - (11/1/2010 - 10:31pm)

I'm in New York, a little ways north of the city.

What did you think of my picture? did it look bad to you? I know theres no way you can know for sure but have you had or seen mel moles that resemble mine? Because my mole looks like none of the pictures on the internet, which look much worse, but if it's an early stage...idk


Gah, I worry so much. I just want someone with experience to tell me "it looks benign, but only the doctor can tell you for sure".

lhaley - (11/1/2010 - 10:43pm)

Every one of my melanoma's looked different!  You will feel better once it's removed. Waiting is the worse part. My Dr. looks at my moles through a scope that magnifies every part. A picture just doesn't give a perspective that is needed. Plus, just because we have mel doesn't mean we can pick out what is malignant and what isn't.  I realize that you want an answer but we just can't give that.

There are many good Doctors in NY. Hopefully all will be good but if not there are many specialists in your area! 

bcl - (11/2/2010 - 12:08am)

Hello again, as Janner says, it's hard to diagnose this stuff. I have a small one with a black spot, derm says no problem.. my daughter has two moles that blend together, again, no problem. I'm ok with that because we've seen no changes in the moles.

Find a good derm and tell them you've noticed a mole get a little puffy and want it off. Over the years I've had a punch biopsy for a small mole, and excisional biopsies for a few suspicious looking larger ones. All except  the first came back negative for melanoma. (Removing a mole is as close to painless as any procedure I've had  -and much easier than going to the dentist IMO..  so don't worry about that part!)

I know it's hard to be patient, I don't do a very good job of it myself. But try to tell yourself, even if it turns out to be a concern, (and you're certainly not there yet..)  the majority of skin cancers are found early, not late.  take care, and good luck!  bclinda  1b 3 1/2 years

Janner - (11/1/2010 - 11:06pm)

I've had 3 primaries.  For me, change was the most important thing.  Not spots, not size, not anything else.  Change was obvious to me, but most melanomas grow very slowly so change can take time.  (If yours was nodular, you would have noticed obvious size/shape changes in 3 months).  It is highly unlikely that your mole is melanoma.  Having said that, if you are the worrying type (and judging by the number of responses, I'd say that is likely), then have a punch biopsy done.  Most doctors will not do an excisional biopsy - as the vast majority of biopsies are not melanoma.  A punch biopsy keeps important information in tact and is my preferred biopsy type.  If, on the odd chance, it were melanoma, the excisional biopsy would likely not have large enough margins and you'd end up having to have more taken.  So it's usually best to go with the punch biopsy instead.  A primary care can often do a punch biopsy, too.  Waiting a couple of weeks is unlikely to change anything, so just go ahead and make an appointment when you can.  I've had ugly (multi-colored, spots) moles be benign, and more benign looking moles be melanoma.  For me, CHANGE is #1 because they all did it over time.  My second primary - I waited 3 months from the time I knew it was melanoma (obvious change) until it was removed.  Insurance issues.  It was still an extremely early melanoma (in situ).

Don't spend time worrying about this.  Researching it will tell you nothing.  Pictures will not diagnose a melanoma, only a pathologist can do that.  Just make an appointment.  Tell them that you want a biopsy done at the appointment so they'll schedule enough time.  Just do it.  And don't worry about it until there really is a reason to worry.  Chances are, it isn't anything.  But if it is, you are getting it taken care of and that is what matters.

Best wishes,


llmercll - (11/2/2010 - 12:47am)

Thanks for all the replies, they've been very reassuring =)


My brother tells me I've had that mole for as long as he can remember, and also that the black spot is nothing new and has been there for awhile. he just told me today, and that was a big relief. It's hard for me be aware of change since it's on my back, but from what I can tell it hasn't changed much if any, and my family doesn't think it changed either. They don't examine it like crazy the way I do though. I'll take whatever I can tell myself to relax a little =/


I'm a big worrier, just like my mom. Either way, the plan is to make a dermatology appointment for a punch biopsy. I don't mind a little hole in my back as the price for peace of mind. I think most people here would agree that's the best choice for me. Definitely no to the shave biopsy because if it is melanoma the shave won't give them accurate depth, and the excisional biopsy might be overkill, unless the dr seriously thinks its melanoma or something.


thanks a lot everyone!

perezgus70 - (5/13/2014 - 3:31pm)

Hi Janner, I have been looking at your posts and can't help to see how positive you are about all of this. I don't think I have anything seriouse. My Dr. said I have 2 dysplastic nevi and not to worry but I'm freeking out looking at everything now and being hypervigilant with the Internet. I foun what seems to be a small mole on my are that he didn't see so I bought a mag. glass and I see black scaly center with black ring and red around all. I've read that malignant melanoma can be even smaller than this, mine is about1-2mm. When they say Melanoma is curable, well how early is early enough if something this small can potentially be fatal?

perezgus70 - (5/14/2014 - 4:31pm)

Hi Janner. I saw the last post. It is years old. Just looking to see if you still come to this site.