Mole on labia?
August 3, 2010 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Is it normal to have a mole on your labia, or should I get it checked out for melanoma?

I know YANAD, but I'd rather know before I have to pay to see a doctor (no insurance).

I have a round, dark brown spot on the outside of one of my labia minora that I noticed a few weeks ago. I am 99% sure it's a mole, it looks like one and I have quite a few moles all over my body. I highly doubt it's an STI - since I've had sex three times in my entire life, every time with a condom.

According to the ABCDE guideline, it's pretty much fine. It's not raised, pretty symmetrical, all one colour and about the size of a pencil eraser. It hasn't changed or gotten bigger in the weeks since I've noticed it.

If it was anywhere else I wouldn't bother, but should I get it checked out by a doctor because of the weird area it's in? I am only 20 and nobody in my family has had melanoma, and while I am very fair-skinned that's not an area that sees the sun, so I'm not in the high risk group.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)
It is possible to have a regular (non-cancerous) mole on your labia. I had a little one that showed up in the same spot, sometime in my mid-late teens. It hung around for several years, and then sometime in my early 20's, I noticed it disappeared completely. Weird.

However, the size of a pencil eraser seems pretty big to me. I would keep an eye on it, and if you notice any changes at all, get it checked out. It is entirely possible for moles (or rather, nevii/nevus) to come and go, but sometimes it might be good to err on the side of caution.
posted by raztaj at 6:46 PM on August 3, 2010

Meant to link to this - sorry!
posted by raztaj at 6:48 PM on August 3, 2010

You're describing a mole that is exactly the same as one I have and have gotten checked out. I also have lots of other moles, but I have a history of skin cancer in my family. Mine was fine.
posted by emilyd22222 at 6:51 PM on August 3, 2010

I have one too!

I asked the doc, mine's fine.

Get yours looked at, for peace of mind.

Eponysterical? I know.
posted by bilabial at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's pretty unlikely you have melanoma on a part of your body that is not exposed to the sun so I wouldn't make a special appointment but maybe ask your doc to look at it the next time you see them

I get a "skin check" every year or two because I'm so fair and the doctor occasionally burns or cuts a mole or other weird thing off. It is never, ever the ones I think she's going to be concerned about. I have a gigantic, multi colored lumpy irregular mole that at least 10 doctors have looked at over the past 20 years and their collective reaction has been a big "eh". Then last week my doc cut an innocuous looking little freckle off my hand and shipped it off for pathology. Based on my experience I'd be cautious making decisions based on those internet guides.
posted by fshgrl at 7:27 PM on August 3, 2010

When you get a mole check at the dermatologist, they usually look in every nook and cranny anyway. (My dad, who had melanoma, used to crack jokes about this all the time.)

It's wise to get it checked out along with all your other moles, but if you can't afford a dermatologist visit right now, keep written notes of the approximate shape, size, color, and location of all your moles, in case they change at some point in the future.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:31 PM on August 3, 2010

I have an acquaintance who had to have one removed because of its location so get it checked out. Also, it's your bits. You don't want those to get messed up.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:00 PM on August 3, 2010

It can't hurt to get a mole check, but you're probably fine. I have a ton of atypical nevi (genetic propensity for them--I have to get them checked every now and then), and have had a few appear even as an adult, even in places that get little sun. Like fshgrl, the ones I'm concerned about are rarely the ones that the doctor cares about, and vice versa.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:36 PM on August 3, 2010

It's pretty unlikely you have melanoma on a part of your body that is not exposed to the sun

Some melanomas develop in places that don't get a lot of sun like the soles of the feet, or between fingers and toes. Don't get too stressed out about it -- melanoma is still relatively rare -- but do get it checked out as soon as you reasonably can.
posted by jdwhite at 9:09 PM on August 3, 2010

Do you have a yearly gyno exam coming up anytime soon? Your doctor will surely notice it then (of course, you should bring it up, too). This way you can kill two birds with one stone (and the cost of one visit, since they're not going to charge you extra for looking at a mole). Plus, you can go to a place like Planned Parenthood. The doctor will refer you to a dermatologist if they are concerned about the mole.

Usually a mole like you described is not cancer, but it certainly isn't a bad idea to have it checked out.
posted by elpea at 10:09 PM on August 3, 2010

It's pretty unlikely you have melanoma on a part of your body that is not exposed to the sun

Sorry, I just want to repeat: This is not true.

From Mucosal melanoma develops in the mucous membrane that lines the nose, mouth, esophagus, anus, urinary tract and vagina.

IANAD. It's concerning that you just noticed an eraser-sized mole, which suggests that it might be new.
posted by purpleclover at 10:37 PM on August 3, 2010

I highly doubt it's an STI - since I've had sex three times in my entire life, every time with a condom.

Several STDs are transmissable by skin contact. Condoms don't fully protect against herpes, for instance, or HPV (a.k.a. genital warts).

"Genital warts are highly contagious. There is around a 60% risk of getting the infection from a single sexual contact with someone who has genital warts."

"...male and female condoms cannot fully protect you HPV can be passed from person to person even when there are no visible warts or other symptoms."

Not that an STI is in any way a given. But it'd be good to run it by your ob/gyn before concluding there's no possibility.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:56 PM on August 3, 2010

I have one there too -- I try to remember to ask my OB/GYN to look at it when I have my annual pelvic exam; if I forget, I ask my dermatologist during my annual skin scan (I prefer the former since he's used to poking around down there anyhow).
posted by wisekaren at 5:42 AM on August 4, 2010

Is it normal to have a mole on your labia, or should I get it checked out for melanoma?

Not mutually exclusive. It is both normal/typical and something you should get checked in case it's irregular, cancerous, or pre-cancerous.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 6:47 AM on August 4, 2010

I have one. Asked gyno about it. Normal.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:29 AM on August 4, 2010

purpleclover, actually, it is true.

Mucosal melanoma is rare.

Just because it can happen doesn't mean it's likely. A melanoma is unlikely given the description the OP gave (which doesn't mean it's absolutely not melanoma), and a mucosal melanoma is far less likely yet.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:52 AM on August 4, 2010

It is almost for sure not melanoma but DO get it checked. I have had melanoma (or have it, who really knows?) and at my 3-month checkups they look pretty much everywhere, including the lining of my eye sockets.

Don't stress, but get it looked at.
posted by Danf at 8:03 AM on August 4, 2010

Seconding the don't stress but get it checked out crowd, just on the teensiest little sliver of a chance that it's melanoma. Melanoma is easy to treat in early stages and difficult to treat in late stages, and quite deadly.
The potential benefit of getting it looked at is SO worth it. Plus then you won't be worried about it anymore.
posted by smartyboots at 10:47 AM on August 4, 2010

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