22 September 2017Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: should I worry about my mole?

I recommend you get an excisional biopsy done for the mole on your cheek

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir
29 Mar 2016 | 11:42 am

I’m a 39-year-old woman of Polish origin. I have a dark beauty spot, or a mole as doctors have described it, on my right upper cheek. Over the past six months it has started showing some changes in colour, shape and size. Should I be worried?

Without any intention of scaring you, I want you to know that not all moles can be considered beauty spots. 
In many cases they have taken a nasty path, with negative changes in their cellular characteristics and resulting in malignant melanoma – a type of skin cancer that’s fatal if not detected and treated early. I suggest you consult an experienced dermatologist with special skill in diagnosis of malignant melanoma and other types of skin cancers.

You need to have a thorough screening – a head-to-toe examination – followed by specialised computerised mole-mappings. These are the most modern diagnostic modality, helping in early detection of any suspected melanoma. Never leave a clinically suspicious mole untreated.

I recommend you get an excisional biopsy done for the mole on your cheek. I seriously discourage partial sampling 
of a mole. At the same time, please get the rest of the moles on your body thoroughly examined and mole-mapped to determine their current suspicion index. These findings can be recorded and will be of great help for comparisons during your future follow-up assessments.

Finally, as a standard guideline, sun protection, either by avoiding prolonged sun exposure or by using an effective high-SPF sunblock should be a mandatory part of your daily routine to minimise risk of developing skin cancer.

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Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

is a specialist dermatologist and founder and president of Dermacare Skin Health Services.