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What you need to know about mole removal!

June 26, 2015

Recently, a young lady with many moles came to me for a second opinion.  Prior to her visit, she had mole and skin cancer check and laser mole removal treatment done by a GP. However, her mole specimens which were sent for laboratory analysis were reported to be too tiny, charred and inadequate for proper evaluation of the possibility of cancer. Understandably, she was anxious!

After clinical consultation and examination, I concluded that her risk for skin cancer was low and all her remaining moles were normal looking. The moles could have been removed without sending specimens for laboratory analysis. I then assured her that it was likely the moles removed earlier were also normal. With that assurance, she left the clinic happy and in peace.

Moles are common and generally not attractive. Most people would like to have them removed. In Singapore, this treatment is performed by a myriad of people, well-trained skin specialist, beauticians in beauty saloons and even some uncles at the night bazaar stall. Very often, people expect mole removal to be risk free and they do not consider it necessary to have it examined or removed by a trained skin specialist. They assume that the skin will heal perfectly.

Many people are not aware that scars, indentations and color changes may occur after mole removal procedures. The moles can also recur when there is incomplete removal. The worse case scenario is when a cancerous mole was removed unknowingly and incompletely. That would have been disastrous and that was why the patient above was anxious!

When a patient comes to me for mole removal. I will evaluate their risk factors: skin type, past histories of skin cancer in the patient and family, history of occupational and recreational sun exposure and etc. If they are assessed to be of low risk, then I will remove their normal looking moles upon request. There is no need for any laboratory analysis. But if they are assessed to be of moderate or high risk, I will surgically remove the suspicious moles and send them for laboratory testing. It is important to be prudent and careful even with simple procedures like mole removal.

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