November 25, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President
Spitz Nevus: Mistaken Melanoma in Children
Potentially fatal melanoma is an ugly disease, both literally and figuratively. But it is important to know that it does have several ugly, benign “mimics” that may look similar, yet aren’t harmful.
One such mimic is called Spitz nevus, which sounds scary but is nothing more than an uncommon, seldom cancerous mole that develops primarily in children, adolescents and young adults.
Unfortunately, it can be so close in appearance to melanoma that even a highly-experienced dermatologist may not be able to distinguish whether the mole is cancerous without a biopsy and pathology report. And sometimes even that may not even be enough to confirm a malignancy.
As a result, most doctors and dermatologists won’t make assumptions or take any chances until melanoma is confirmed or ruled out.
Some physicians are not so diligent, however. So, if during your monthly skin self-exam you’ve discovered a new mole, or a previous one, that has changed its color, size, shape- or has bled or oozed, see a dermatologist as quickly as possible. It is vital that you don’t play around with your skin’s health.
At the Melanoma Education Foundation, we fully understand that very few people, if anyone at all, ever looks forward to an appointment with his or her doctor. But the indisputable fact of the matter is that, regarding skin cancer and especially melanoma, the speed of detection and treatment can and will in a very large part determine the difference between whether a patient lives or dies. That is not hyperbole, and it really is just that simple.
And, if an excised mole turns out to be nothing, the patient will gain both peace of mind and the removal of an unsightly skin growth. So, what is there to lose?
This is a photograph of a Spitz Nevus:
Additional source articles: Healthline.com