Spotting a break in the pattern can save a life

A lesion's history can lead to a life-saving diagnosis

The timely diagnosis of potentially lethal melanomas requires vigilance and attention to the basic principles taught in medical school: thoughtful history-taking followed by thorough examination.

Lesions which “break the pattern” deserve careful assessment regardless of whether they are encountered at a scheduled skin examination or otherwise. 

The first step in assessing such a lesion is to inquire about its history.  Is the patient aware of it? If so, when was it first noticed and has it changed? Are there any symptoms? 

A thorough