Danger begins when the cells become malignant, in which case you really have no choice but to have the mole removed. Actor Ewan McGregor famously took this pre-emptive route.
Moles bespeak malignant melanoma or skin cancer when they change in asymmetry, border, colour, diameter, and evolution. Consult a dermatologist as soon as possible if you notice that your mole:
· has two mismatched halves
· has uneven borders
· exhibits multiple colours
· exceeds 6 mm in diameter
· bleeds, crusts, or itches
Also be on your guard about moles that emerge after the age of 20, especially if you have fair skin. Get familiar with your moles; perform skin examinations regularly. The end of the summer months is an auspicious time, when you will have been exposed to more sunlight than usual.
If you have atypical moles, aka dysplastic nevi, get checked by a dermatologist every six months.
If you elect to have your mole removed, expect some scarring. Although many scars from mole removal are scarcely noticeable, the outlook depends on several factors, including the location of the mole, kind of procedure, postoperative care, etc. Large moles are known to be replaced by scars, trade-offs you may not consider for the same reasons you want the mole removed.
In the end, cosmetic mole removal is an arbitrary choice. For many patients, the spectre of a scar is far more tolerable than having to go out one more day with a hairy or simply ugly circle. You certainly don’t have to be dappled with attention-getting marks.
Another justification for mole removal is discomfort. Often moles grow in parts that come into contact with bra straps and other articles of clothing. This kind of placement can get moles easily irritated.
How the procedure is performed
Whether you’re getting rid of your mole for medical or cosmetic reasons, you are generally faced with two methods of removal: surgical excision with stitches or cauterization.
In the former, the surgeon makes a deeper incision, taking out mole and some skin around it. Stitches then close the wound. In the latter, the surgeon shaves the raised part of the mole with a sterile scalpel and uses a solution or electrical instrument to cauterise the wound. If the removal is due to suspicion of cancer, the excised tissue will be sent to a laboratory for diagnosis.
Your surgeon will prescribe over-the-counter topical solutions and specific after-care instructions to prevent infection.