The dermatologist should check moles every year.

In summer we discover our skin at the pool and at the beach so we pay more attention to our body. This is when dermatologists receive most of the consultations for mole checks.

Moles, also called nevi, are a very common type of benign cellular proliferation (or tumor, as we call it, WITHOUT implying malignancy) formed by cells called “nevocytes” that tend to retain pigment.


Periodic check-ups of moles or nevi is the best way for dermatologists to prevent or detect melanoma early. Melanoma is a malignant skin tumor with a poor prognosis if diagnosed late. In other words, survival depends on how early the melanoma is detected. It is a skin cancer that can cause death even in young people.

Just as we know that women should have regular mammograms for the early diagnosis of breast cancer, we should all be aware of the importance of regular evaluation of moles by a dermatologist.

Dermatologists detect suspicious lesions that require close surveillance or excision. In addition, during these check-ups it is common to detect other types of non-melanoma skin cancer that can be successfully treated early.

Periodic mole checks are especially indicated for some people:

  • Those with a large number of nevi (more than 50-100).
  • Atypical nevus
  • History of significant or numerous sunburns
  • People with light skin and eyes
  • First-degree family history of melanoma
  • Persons with birthmarks larger than 10 cm

In mole examinations, dermatologists use an instrument called a dermatoscope. Dermoscopy allows us to see nevi with a degree of detail that goes much further than our naked eye.

In some people we indicate the periodic performance of the so-called digital dermoscopy or digital recording of dermoscopic images of a patient’s moles that allows comparison over time.

We recommend going to the dermatologist for a mole check-up when the skin is not tanned, the ideal time being spring or early summer. This is because solar radiation can temporarily alter the nevi and raise doubts in their interpretation.

We recommend that each person perform periodic self-monitoring. To this end, a simple “ABCDE” rule has been proposed to remind us which characteristics should alert us:

  • A: asymmetry in axes
  • B: irregular edges
  • C: various colors
  • D: diameter greater than 6 mm
  • E: evolution or changes

We must not forget that moles can undergo changes throughout life: increase in number, pigmentation, lumpiness…many of these changes are normal, but it is always preferable to consult a dermatologist.

Finally, I would like to remind you of the positive impact that regular visits to a dermatologist can have on your health. In some regions, such as Australia, the incidence of melanoma has already begun to decrease thanks to photoprotection and regular check-ups by dermatologists.