What to Do About Infected Mole?

I have what I think is a white mole on my shoulder. I don't remember it. Now it is raised with a red circle of inflamation around it. Very painful. My GP blithely said "maybe a little skin cancer - not the kind that spreads". Not to worry. Then gave me Amoxicillin for the infection. I'm terrified. I thought it was a boil and punctured it (I know). No pus - a little blood. I don't think the antibiotic is doing anything. Advice?

Doctor Answers 11

Moles rarely get infected

Moles rarely get infected. If it does it is typically superficial and can be treated with topical antibiotic ointment. However, this could be a more serious issue such as a skin cancer and should be checked by a dermatologist who can advise you.

Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Moles rarely get infected

It sounds more like you have an infected sebaceous cyst.  Use the antibiotics to calm the infection, then have it removed.  If it were an ulcerated infected skin cancer, you need to have that removed also.  Go to a plastic surgeon for an evaluation.  They will know what to do!

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Is it a mole?

If it is painful….it is not a mole. (Unless you scratched or traumatized it accidentally.)

If it has redness, it can either be something that got a bit infected (like a sebaceous cyst) or it can be one of several dermatologic skin disorders that range from benign (sebborheic) to "pre cancer" (actinic keratosis) to cancer (squamous cell carcinoma.)

In general, giving an antibiotic for a skin cancer, as your practitioner did, makes absolutely no sense at all to me, so it sounds like either things were not explained clearly, the antibiotics were given when not needed, or the wrong diagnosis was made. 

Barbara Persons, MD, FACS
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Infected moles and skin cancer

Since there is no photo of the mole it is difficult to advise you.  Antibiotics generally take a few days to work and you have to be on the correct antibiotic for the infection.  You should seek out a dermatologist rather than a GP.  Amoxicillin is generally not give for an infection like you are describing.  Any mole that is changing in size and color needs to be evaluated by a dermatologist and sent to the laboratory for examination.  Please find a competent and caring dermatologist who is board certified for treatment.

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Moles rarely get infected

I would encourage you to see a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for an evaluation.  Finish the course of antibiotics, but at some point soon, you should have the lesion checked and possibly biopsied. 

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

There is an answer

Prtizy, go to a dermatologist and get this spot evaluated, and most likely, removed.  The initial removal of it will require a simple injection to numb it, and then a piece will be sent to the pathologist to determine exactly what it is.  And, then, once the answer is known, the next step will be to plan treatment, IF it is needed.  Skin cancer is a possibility, but so is an irritated wart or other benign growth.

Tobi B. Richman-Steinhardt, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Is this an infected mole?

While starting treament with an antibiotic is reasonable, I think the next step would be to evaluate this changing "mole." It's impossible in a forum like this to determine what you have. Your best option is to see a dermatologist to fully evaluate this lesion. It could be a traumatized mole or nevus; it could be a different type of benign lesion called a seborrheic keratosis;  it could be a basal cell carinoma (the most common type of skin cancer), and it could be a differen type of cancer, such as melanoma. The point is that you have a changing pigmented lesion and in my opinion that would best be handled by evaluation by a dermatologist to determine if a biopsy is necessary.

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

Possible skin cancer deserves actual attention

Your instinct that this new, painful growth on your shoulder needs attention is correct. All skin cancers "spread", this what make sthem "cancer". Basal Cell cancer , the most common, does not spread beyond it's immediate area, but the lesion itself can grow larger, and people do lose parts of their bodies, and occasionally their lives, when this is not appropriately treated. See a Plastic Surgeon.

Debra Irizarry, MD
Crestone Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Procede as Your physician Directs

The "white mole", in your physician's eyes is probably a basal cell carcinoma which is easily treated, especially on the trunk.

You, as you know, unwisely infected the lesion. Your physician is doing the appropriate thing by treating the infection before proceding. It is not good judgment to biopsy or remove an infected lesion unless you are pressed to do so. Surgery on an infected wound is likely to spread the infection.

After the infection has cleared, a biopsy can be done to determine the nature of your "white mole". Then the appropriate treatment can be initiated.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Infected lesion or mole.

It is generally not wise to operate on an infected lesion. Allow the lesion to heal from your injury to it and respond to the adntibiotics. After waiting a period of 2-3 weeks, you can consider having the lesion excised and biopsied.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 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.