Together we will beat cancer


Mole biopsy

3 Aug 2021 19:58


I've had a small unusual looking mole on my leg for a long time, but it had been catching my eye more lately and I wasn't sure if it had maybe become more unusual looking. I decided to get it checked at the gp and it went down as a 2 week referral and I saw a dermatologist in the next week. I was expecting the dermatologist to say it was fine but when he examined it with a dermascope he was concerned and said there looked like there had been some changes to the mole and he noticed 3 different colours as well as shades of grey and red. He also said it was asymmetrical, lumpy and had a irregular outline. He then referred me for an excision of the mole which was today. I went for my appointment today to get it removed and it was a different dermatologist this time, he took a really quick look at it and said it looks innocent and decided to do a punch biopsy instead. I'm just now wondering does a punch biopsy go through the same lab checks as an excision would? 

I'm feeling much more positive after the dermatologists response to it today but I'm such a worrier so I'd appreciate any advice!




Mole biopsy

4 Aug 2021 10:08 in response to Gbee


Yes, a punch biopsy goes through exactly the same histology lab checks as an excision biopsy would, it just means that the amount of tissue they test is smaller. They tend to do a punch biopsy if they think the mole may be OK and it is either very small or it's large & they don't want to leave too much of a scar. No point scarring someone badly for something they think is more likely to be benign. If they think it's definitely worrying, they will always do an excision biopsy as it means they get the whole mole removed & can tell it's depth etc. In the event that a punch biopsy comes back malignant, they will then have to do a full excision to assess the depth. All melanoma diagnoses then go on to have a Wide Local Excision where they also remove a safe margin of surrounding tissue. Personally, I'm not a fan of punch biopsies as it would mean 3 lots of surgery if it came back as malignant, unless they can tell the depth from the small amount of punch tissue. The depth is how they stage a cancer & decide the treatment plan.

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

Angie (Stage 3 melanoma patient since 2009)

Mole biopsy

8 Aug 2021 21:23 in response to AngieT


Thanks so much for your reply and that information, that's reassuring to hear. 
I will update with the results when I get them, hopefully it won't be too long a wait