Case of the Week: Dermatology

From: Graber and Wilbur’s Family Medicine Examination and Board Review, 4th Edition
Case of the Week: Dermatology


A 37-year-old white female presents to clinic for her annual well adult physical examination. After a complete skin examination, you find a suspicious lesion on her back (Fig. 17-1). It measures 16 mm × 8 mm. She has approximately 20 nevi that appear normal. The patient reports never performing self-skin examinations and does not know if the lesion in question is new. She denies any symptomatic lesions. Her family history is remarkable for "skin cancer" on her father's side. Many family members have "tons of moles." She frequented a tanning parlor in college (too much free time … probably majored in communications) and occasionally still does so before social events (didn't learn much about skin health in college) See Table 17-1.

Figure 17-1

Image not available.

How do you evaluate the lesion?

A - Take a photograph and see her back in 2 months

B - Take a shallow shave biopsy of the lesion

C - Excise the entire lesion with 1- to 2-mm margins

D - Excise the entire lesion with 3-cm margins 

E-  All of the above are equally valid approaches

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