How does a dermatologist check a mole for cancer?

How does a dermatologist check a mole for cancer?


The very first and important part of our assessment is the history. It might sound a bit odd, but one of the first things a dermatologist will ask you is the precise history of any mole you are worried about and that is because there are very specific changes that a skin cancer would go through as opposed to a normal mole. There are very specific rules about the duration of skin cancers and the duration of normal moles.

Even if you do not have exactly the dates or duration of your skin lesion, an approximation will help.


A magnifier is a special tool that magnifies the skin about the twice the normal size and allows us to look for any early signs of skin cancer on the surface of the skin.

However, the real skill in early skin cancer detection comes from using a dermatoscope.

This instrument magnifies the skin 10x, but more importantly it has a polarised light within it that goes about a millimetre under the surface of the skin. So, what we’re looking at is changes under the surface of the skin at 10x magnification. This ensures any changes that might lead to skin cancer are caught at a very early stage.