Zero to One Hundred

No matter how many moles. Caucasian African-American Hispanic or Japanese does not matter, you are at risk for skin cancer.

Count your moles.

If you have a total exceeding 50 moles you have an increased risk of skin cancer. Even more than 20 moles on a leg or 11 moles on your right arm there is an increased incidence.

When you have a precancerous mole or atypical or dysplastic mole the odds of developing melanoma increases significantly.

Dysplastic or atypical moles are benign, but can resemble melanoma for the larger size and irregularity of the edges or color.


Do you have any moles that are different from others? Larger than a pencil eraser? Irregular edges? Color that is variegated: not homogeneous throughout?

People with atypical moles occur in 10% of the population.  Especially those who have family members with the atypical mole syndrome have a 7 to 27% increased risk for melanoma.

The risk approaches 100% for individuals who have the atypical mole syndrome with two first-degree relatives ( as a mother and sister) who have had a melanoma.

Any new mole after 40, especially those that do not have any moles, can signal a melanoma.  Most, but not all, melanomas arise as new, not from preexisting moles.

All races develop skin cancer. 90% occur with Caucasians, but darkly skinned individuals, especially those with prolonged UV exposure can develop skin cancer. The palms and soles are the locations where dark skinned individual’s melanoma frequently occur.

Consider these statistics:

*One in five Americans get skin cancer

*One person dies every hour from melanoma

*One person is diagnosed every 8 minutes with melanoma

*Over 4 million cases of skin cancer yearly

*One blistering sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer

*10 or more visits to a tanning booth has an increased risk for melanoma

*Between 40-50% of people older than 65 will develop skin cancer

No matter how many moles. No matter what race or ethnicity. You are at risk for skin cancer.

Be smart, get checked by your doctor and then perform self exams and mole map to detect changes which can assist with early detection of skin cancer.

Gary Lichten, M.D.

Are you at risk for skin cancer?

Are you at risk for skin cancer?

Discovering skin cancer early improves outcome: both cosmetically as well as prognostically.

Consider these statistics:

*One in five Americans develops skin cancer: over 4 million cases a year

*One person develops melanoma every eight minutes.

*One person dies every hour of melanoma.

Risk factors for skin cancer include genetic and environmental.


*Blond or red hair with blue or green eyes and freckling

*Family history of melanoma or pancreatic cancer

*Prior history of melanoma, as there is an increased risk for others to develop

*Family or personal history of atypical moles (multiple large and small moles or dysplastic)

*Individuals with over 100 moles.  Evidence supports an increased risk if you have 20 or more moles on the legs or 11 or more on your right arm.


*Prolonged ultraviolet exposure

*One blistering sunburn

*Ten or more visits to a tanning booth increases risk for melanoma

*Immunosuppressed individuals including transplants, on biologicals or chemotherapy

What does melanoma, the most dangerous of skin cancers, look like?

  1. Asymmetry: the mole is not symmetric as the two halves do not match
  2. Border: the border is irregular
  3. Color: the color is not the same throughout. There is variegation of color or black dots
  4. Diameter: larger than 5 millimeters or a pencil eraser
  5. Evolution: the mole is changing

Of all the features, ‘E’, a changing mole is the most important sign. Changing can be difficult to detect, so sequential photos and comparing side by side and overlaid are helpful

Other features that require attention:

*New mole: any mole occurring after the age of forty2005-05-24a_0070-1

*Ugly duckling mole: a mole that is totally different from others by either size or color

*Pink mole (see pink, stop and think)

*Painful or itchy mole

High risk individuals should be checked at least yearly by your physician with monthly self exams.  Mole mapping or total body photography has been shown to detect melanoma earlier and reduce the number of biopsies.

Being an advocate for your health can and will make a significant difference.

Gary Lichten, M.D.


Why CompariSkin?

Why CompariSkin?

Taking a picture of a mole to see whether it has changed is not as effective as comparing two images side-by-side or overlaid.

CompariSkin is the only app that provides side-by-side and overlaid imaging.

Are you at high risk for skin cancer?
Do you have a scar from an unnecessary biopsy?

* One in five Americans develop skin cancer.
* One person dies every hour of melanoma.
* One person is diagnosed with melanoma every eight minutes
* 65% of new skin cancers are detected by the patient and their partner.
* 90% of biopsies may not be necessary

High-risk individuals predisposed to develop skin cancer include those with just one blistering sunburn, 10 or more visits to a tanning bed, family history of melanoma or pancreatic cancer, history of atypical mole syndrome and immunosuppressed individuals.

Taking a picture of a mole to see whether it has changed is not as effective as comparing two images side-by-side or overlaid. Recently I saw a patient who had a mole that was to be followed with photography. The patient opted to take a photograph, without CompariSkin.
When seen in follow-up she stated that it was had not changed but when compared with side-by-side images, it had indeed changed and was evolving into an early melanoma. Mole mapping has been shown to detect melanoma earlier. Side by side and overlaid images facilitate recognition of early changes.

A recent multi-institutional study has proven that mole mapping reduces the number of biopsies. Major health centers may perform mole mapping, but relatively few dermatologists in private practice perform this service.
If the image of the mole has not changed and the physician does not see distinct abnormal dermascopic features, why biopsy the growth and leave a scar?  Additionally, knowing that medical errors occur, wrong site biopsies can be avoided with a picture. Preventable medical errors is the number 3 killer in the United States: 400,000 people per year die each year. Taking charge and advocating for yourself can make huge difference.

Other features that make CompariSkin thorough and unique include the use of hologram images that allow reproducibility, examining close-ups with just one click, reminders, charting results and email capability to share photos with your physician.
While CompariSkin is intended to assist you with your skin health, it does not replace a dermascopic exam with your physician.

CompariSkin: A digital map to healthier skin.

Gary Lichten, M.D.