Can a Dermatologist Tell Just by Looking at a Mole if It is Cancerous on Not?

I have an appointment next week and i dont know what to expect never been to one before, will he be able to give me an idea on the day what it is and how long would it have to wait for results if he removes it?

Doctor Answers 5

How to tell if a mole is cancerous

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A board certified dermatologist can look at your mole and tell you whether or not it looks suspicious for a skin cancer. If necessary, depending on its size and location, a mole can be easily removed by one of two methods: a shave excision or an excision with suture closure. A shave excision is a procedure where the mole is actually "shaved off" at a level just below the surface of the skin. The other method is an excision with suture closure which uses both dissolving and non-dissolving sutures to give the best cosmetic result. You can follow the video link below to learn more about identifying the changes in moles that are suspicious for skin cancer.

South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Make sure your dermatologist uses a dermatoscope.

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Approximately 80% of the moles removed in a dermatologist's office did not need to be removed. We are no longer in an era where the dermaologist should be looking at the mole with their own matter how well they have been trained. Your dermatologist should be using  dermoscopy to examine every mole. A dermascope magnifies the mole and increase the accuracy rate of the diagnosis by 500%.

When you search for a good dermatologist, always call ahead and make sure your dermatologist is using a dermascope. Insist on it, make sure they have been using it for several years, and that they use it routinely on all of their patients. Otherwise, you will be paying for unnecessary procedures.

The accuracy is incredibly better. We only take away what has to be removed. And the cost of your care is dramatically lower.

If hope this helps you! Regards. 

Christine Glavey, MD (retired)
Alpharetta Dermatologic Surgeon

Your dermatologist can tell you all about your mole and what to do with it.

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Dermatologists are skin experts and can tell you everything you want to know about your mole and what can be done with it. If it needs a biopsy he/she will tell you and it usually takes about 5 days to get the report back. Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

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Can a Dermatologist Tell if a Mole is Benign or Malignant

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An experienced, well-trained, board-certified dermatologist can tell whether he or she believes that lesion is benign or requires a biopsy.Some pigmented lesions have none of the features of melanoma. These generally are felt to be benign and can be followed. Some have one or more of the features suggestive of melanoma or another type of skin cancer and thus should be removed or biopsied. You should have a complete examination of your skin surface if possible by the dermatologist, and you should perform a monthly self examination of your own skin. Good luck.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Moles and Skin Cancer

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It is often possible just by examination by a board trained dermatologist to ascertain if a mole is cancerous or not.  Sometimes a biopsy is indicated to properly know if it is skin cancer or not.  If a biopsy is indicated, generally a shave biopsy or shave removal of the lesion is performed.  In doing a shave removal, the entire mole is removed with minimal if any scarring.  The mole is then sent to a laboratory for examination and the results generally take about one week.  If you are very worried, many labs will process your results "STAT" and have the results in two days.  Please find someone experienced since it is so important to your health.

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.