If I Had Atypical Skin Cells in my Face in Oct 2011, & Haven't Had Them Removed, How Bad is It Now?

a dermatologist removed a nickel-sized mole from my chin in oct 2011, had it biopsied, told me that it had "atypical cells" they didn't remove & that i had to get it surgically removed or they would "definitely become cancer." as i had/have no insurance or money for a surgery, they've stayed since. (july 2013 now). Moffitt wont perform surgery unless it's confirmed cancer. what do i do? how do i find out if it's cancer now? my face itches like crazy in some spots for months. will i die?

Doctor Answers 4

Atypical cells on the face


I think it would be best to have the area biopsied again, in order to see if it is malignant and then take it from there.  It is too difficult to know if any cells still remain or if they have progressed to anything more sinister from just looking at the lesion. 

Be assured that extreme itching for months is not a sign of skin cnacer.


Stephen Salerno

Atypical skin cells in 2011

First of all, please ignore advice such as that below from plastic surgeons suggesting you only see a plastic surgeon. It has been too long to simply have the area excised. You do need to "start over" and have the area re-evaluated and re-biopsied if necessary. No physician should ever say that atypical cells "will definitely become cancer". Also, itching is not a sign of cancer. The video link below shows the warning signs for skin cancer.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

I didn't remove atypical skin cells, are they now cancer?

Atypical cells of any kind grow at different rates, and it's hard to know if you would or would not have cancer without knowing the exact diagnosis and what type of atypical cells they were, how far they'd already progressed, etc. So basically, at this point, you need to start over. You need to have the site re-biopsied because it's been too long for any doctor to do an excision without a more recent biopsy and diagnosis. Then your doctor can tell you what the site is or is not. There is a program called CareCredit that allows you to open a credit line for procedures and make payments. It's like a credit card of sorts but only taken at physicians, dentists, vets, etc. So it will allow you to have the necessary procedures done but make payments on it rather than have to spend all your money. Remember though that the skin is an organ, and when you have cancer in any organ it needs treatment. So get to a doctor, get a biopsy, and go from there.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Atypical mole

All atypical or dysplastic moles should be removed if possible. See a plastic surgeon to remove the remaining portion of the atypical mole

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.