Almost all of us have at least a few moles on our bodies. Typically brown or black in appearance, moles can appear anywhere on the body, either solitary or in clusters. The majority of moles are completely harmless, but some can become cancerous, requiring prompt clinical removal.
If you have any worrisome moles, we recommend getting an evaluation from our dermatology team. The Wisconsin Institute of Plastic Surgery is pleased to provide mole screenings for patients near the Oshkosh, WI community.
What is a Mole Screening?
A mole screening is simply a quick physical evaluation, during which time your dermatology specialist will perform a visual examination of any moles, skin tags, or other such markings on your body. The goal is to identify any warning signs of cancer and recommend any worrisome moles for further evaluation, including biopsy.
If one of our skincare specialists sees a mole that appears problematic, you may be advised to simply have that mole removed. We can perform mole removals in-house, using a number of different means, including shaving/cutting, freezing, and more. Note that any time we remove a mole, we always perform a biopsy just to double-check for signs of cancer cells.
The best-case scenario is that your mole removal will provide you with peace of mind, confirming that your moles are benign. In the event that you do have cancer, mole removal can allow for prompt detection and early intervention, greatly increasing your odds of successful treatment.
When Do I Need a Mole Screening?
Monthly self-assessments are recommended for anyone who has a family history of skin cancer. Additionally, we recommend self-assessments if you develop new moles in adulthood. Keep an eye on your moles and schedule a clinical evaluation if any of them change in size, shape, or color. We also recommend scheduling a mole screening if you have any moles that appear notably different from the others on your body.
Additionally, it may be wise to seek a professional opinion about any moles that get caught on your clothing, or otherwise become inflamed or irritated.
Our skincare specialists also recommend mole screenings if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Moles that bleed, ooze, or itch
- Scaly moles
- Tenderness or pain surrounding your mole
None of these symptoms necessarily mean you have skin cancer, but they do warrant a closer look from a trained clinician.
What to Expect from Mole Removal
At the Wisconsin Institute of Plastic Surgery, we take pride in maintaining a warm and welcoming practice environment, and in keeping our patients safe and comfortable throughout each appointment. Additionally, we love answering any questions you may have about skin health and skincare.
Here are a few guidelines about your mole removal appointment.
What to Expect from Your Appointment
Your specialist will perform a full inspection of all the moles on your body, from your scalp to your toes. In some instances, we may use a special magnifying glass (dermatoscope) to get a better view of certain moles. To make the process easier and more efficient, we will generally request that patients remove their clothing and put on a medical gown.
How Long Does a Mole Screening Usually Take?
Mole screening appointments are usually very short. You can expect your mole screening to last no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
What Happens After the Screening?
Following your screening, your provider will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your skincare. If there is nothing worrisome detected, we will let you know if and when you should schedule your next evaluation.
If you need a mole removal, one of our dermatology physician assistants will inform you about the specific procedure that is recommended. Any moles that are removed are biopsied, which is simply a routine way for us to screen them for cancer cells.
If you do have cancerous cells detected, we will let you know about the next steps needed for treatment.
How Can I Prepare for My Mole Screening?
Before you come in for a mole screening, we would advise taking some time to assess your skin. Make a note of any moles that worry you or that raise concerns, just to make sure you ask about them. We also ask patients not to wear makeup to their skin examinations. Wear your hair in a loose style, making it easier for your specialist to access your moles.