From Pimples to Moles: A Website About Dermatology

4 Things You Should Know About The Formal Mole Removal Process

If you have a mole that you just don't think looks right, you need to go see your doctor or a dermatologist. Don't try to remove or cut the mole away on your own because if the mole is dangerous, that may not get the job done.

Alert a Medical Professional

The first thing you need to do when you have a mole that you think is suspicious is alert a medical professional. Depending on how your insurance works, you may be able to book an appointment directly with a dermatologist.

If your health insurance requires you to have a referral, you will want to book an appointment first with your primary care provider.

The Initial Assessment

When you go to your doctor, they are going to carefully inspect the mole. They are also going to want to know why you find the mole to be suspicious and what about the mole you question. If they agree that the mole seems suspicious, they will take a small tissue sample.

They may perform either a punch biopsy or an excisional biopsy. With a punch biopsy, the doctor will use a circular blade to remove some of the skin right next to your mole for the tissue sample. With an excisional biopsy, the doctor will actually cut away the mole in its entirety during the procedure.

You will have a scar following the biopsy. Be sure to keep the area where the incision was made clean and follow all your doctor's care instructions. By properly taking care of the wound, you can decrease the chance of a visible scar.

The Testing

The sample that is taken will then be sent to a lab. A lab will run tests to determine if cancerous cells are present in the sample. Your dermatologist will then let you know if there are cancerous cells present.

There are three different types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Understanding the Melanoma

If there are cancerous cells, the lab will measure the thickness of the cells. This will let them know how advanced the cancer is and what needs to be done.

With a thin layer of cancerous cells, the cancerous area needs to be removed. With a thicker layer of cancerous cells, your doctor will perform more tests to determine if cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or beyond your skin.

If you have a mole that you think doesn't look right, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for mole treatment. They will assess the situation and determine if a biopsy is necessary. If it is, they will test the sample for cancer and determine the next steps if cancer is found in the mole area.