Many people have moles—common skin growths made dark by a high concentration of melanin—but moles on your face or other prominent parts of your body may cause you to consider removing them. And doctors recommend the removal of moles before they turn precancerous.
Precancerous moles are those that have changed in size, color or shape, turning atypical. About 30% of precancerous moles develop into malignant melanoma, which is a dangerous skin cancer that spreads through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system to other parts of the body. With early detection and treatment, melanoma survival rates are excellent. And large moles—those with a diameter of 6 mm (about that of a pencil eraser)—should never be ignored.
Following are the five methods used by specialists to remove moles:
Excision is the removal of the mole by cutting it out, then stitching the resultant wound closed. Like any minor surgery, it requires monitoring and cleansing the affected area for at least a week. While excision is effective in removing the mole completely, it does leave a noticeable scar.
Cryotherapy is the process by which a professional uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the mole, eradicating it. Although it is painless, it is not the most reliable method overall. Since nitrous oxide kills any tissue, it can cause blistering that may recur for months.
Shaving is just what it sounds like: a specialist uses a scalpel to shave the mole down to skin level. While this process may remove some of the irritating aspects of a mole, it does not remove the mole itself, nor alter the color. Also, the mole grows back, so shaving must be repeated annually, at least.
Cauterization is burning away a mole by means of a low-powered electrical device called a hyfrecator. Like cryotherapy, cauterization destroys tissue directly. It also has the advantage of stopping bleeding immediately. The process requires no stitches and is highly effective in removing the mole completely.
Laser is the process by which a laser beam is directed on to a mole to break it up. Complete removal may require more than one session, but the process is painless and creates little to no scarring. The disadvantage to laser removal is that there is no mole tissue left for a biopsy; therefore, it should be used only on moles that are not suspect.
Another process for mole removal is the use of herbal home creams and remedies. These cannot be recommended for several reasons: First, they don’t work to completely remove a mole, and may cause skin irritations or aggravate allergies. Second, they do not afford the medical expertise required in determining if a mole could be precancerous.
The best method of mole removal is the one recommended by a medical professional for you. At BC Laser and Skincare Clinic, our doctor will examine your mole and do a biopsy if necessary, or refer you for other treatment. When it’s a question of not just your appearance but your health, don’t take chances. Contact us today.