ZocdocAnswersWorried about mole that fell off?

Question

Worried about mole that fell off?

I had a large mole on my shoulder that was examined by my dermatologist without concern about six months ago. However, in the last few weeks, it grew bigger, raised, darker, felt irritated and last night fell off. Do I need to have the area examined? is there reason for concern?

Answer

I would definitely go to see either your primary care doctor or your dermatologist about this issue. The main concern with moles is that they contain collections of pigmented cells, known as melanocytes. Sometimes, these melanocytes can begin to grow and proliferate out of control, leading to a type of skin cancer known as melanoma. For this reason, any mole that changes significantly in size, color, texture, etc needs to be examined by a doctor to rule out the possibility of a melanoma. Generally speaking, after the examination, if your doctor is at all concerned that this might represent a melanoma, they will order a biopsy to remove the involved area. This is a simple procedure which is usually done in the doctor's office with some local numbing medicine; the procedure rarely takes more than a few minuted and does not usually have any major complications, other than a small scar at the site of the biopsy. If the biopsy comes back normal, then there will be no need to worry further about the issue. However, you will need to keep an eye on other moles and let your doctor know if you notice anything suspicious. Contact your doctor's office as soon as you can.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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