Together we will beat cancer


Getting a skin lump checked out

20 Sep 2019 19:20


Today I noticed that a mole on my neck has changed colour.  I've had it all my life and it was always dark brown (I have white skin), but now it looks colourless and is bigger and irregularly-shaped.  It's Friday evening and I'm planning on phoning my GP surgery early on Monday morning to see if I can get an urgent appointment the same day.  In case this doesn't work, I've booked myself a GP appointment online, but the earliest I could get is 4th October, which is 2 weeks away.  I'm worried about waiting this long if it is cancer.  Hopefully I'll be able to see someone on Monday.  If not, I might try and book a mole check at a specialist clinic, who could see me sooner.  Can anyone advise me on what I should do if the GP won't see me on Monday?  Is 2 weeks too long to wait?

I've looked at photos of skin cancer on this website, and mine looks a bit like one of the non-melanoma ones, nodular basal cell cancer, because it's colourless (but the lump on my neck is much smaller than in the photos).  On this site it says that this one hardly ever spreads and people almost never die from it.  I'm still quite afraid though and want to get it checked ASAP.

Thanks for reading.

Getting a skin lump checked out

21 Sep 2019 15:26 in response to Ultramarine


It's good that you have booked an appointment online, even if it's 2 weeks away. How does your GP surgery deal with appointments? Do they have a daily arrangement where you can ring first thing in the morning & they have a few slots vacant but once filled you have to ring the next day? (this is how my GP surgery works). If so, and you ring first thing but it's already booked up that day, do they have a GP triage service where you can ask for the GP to ring you & then you can at least voice your concerns to them - this has sometimes resulted in an appointment later that day for me if they think it needs more immediate attention. If none of these systems apply at your surgery and you can't get an earlier appointment you can get it checked at a private clinic if you can afford the cost. I would really try to see your GP though if possible. One tip - don't try & self diagnose yourself when speaking to the GP, especially from Google - just tell them you are worried about a mole that has changed in size, colour and shape. To help you know what guidelines a GP must follow regarding referrals in this situation please read this link!scenario

Good luck and please let us know how you get on,

Angie (melanoma patient)

Getting a skin lump checked out

21 Sep 2019 16:18 in response to AngieT

Hi Angie,

Thanks very much for your reply. I know my GP surgery does have urgent appointments that you can book on the day. I'm planning to go there in person first thing in the morning, in case I can't get through on the phone.

I have seen private clinics advertised that check moles for  £50. I will consider that if I can't see my GP soon. Why is it best to see the GP - is it so that they can refer you on for further tests on the NHS?

Thanks again

Getting a skin lump checked out

21 Sep 2019 22:27 in response to Ultramarine

It's mainly because, should a private clinic think it's a problem, they will have to refer you to your GP for them to make a NHS referral. Private clinics can't refer to the NHS, they can only remove the mole privately which would cost a lot of money. 

Getting a skin lump checked out

22 Sep 2019 08:18 in response to AngieT

Ah OK, I didn't know that! So if a private clinic referred me to my GP, I would still have to wait for an appointment anyway. I didn't realise that. Thanks Angie, it's helpful to be able to ask you about this!

Getting a skin lump checked out

23 Sep 2019 08:45 in response to Ultramarine

Hi Angie,

Just to say I managed to see the dermatologist at my GP practice this morning. He looked at the mole through a microscope and said there was nothing he was concerned about, but he booked me a follow-up appointment for a month's time. I'm really glad that it's not cancer, but now feel a bit bad for wasting their time. The receptionist was a bit cross with me for turning up in person to book an appointment, rather than phoning. But at least it's all OK. I want to say thanks a lot for supporting me. Best wishes

Getting a skin lump checked out

23 Sep 2019 09:01 in response to Ultramarine

I'm so glad that you got it checked out so quickly. The dermascope highlights any suspicious cells in the mole so yours sounds benign. I'm sure the follow up will show no change so you are getting great service from your GP. Don't worry about the receptionist - that's their job to act as a guard dog! Also, don't think that you have wasted their time - the NHS prefers patients to present any lumps, bumps, dodgy moles as quickly as possible as it takes less time and money to deal with them early as it does later when it may have become more serious. Thanks for updating us - it will give some measure of hope for others in your position. Best wishes x