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Looking at your mole (dermoscopy)

What happens when you go to the skin (dermatology) clinic for an abnormal mole.

At the clinic

Your specialist will usually be a consultant dermatologist. They will ask you questions about your mole or abnormal area of skin, such as how long you have had it and what changes you have noticed.

They will look closely at the abnormal area, and will check the rest of your skin for any changes. They usually use a dermatoscope to do this. 

What a dermatoscope is

A dermatoscope is a handheld instrument, a bit like a magnifying glass. It can magnify an area by up to 10 times.

Your specialist puts some oil onto your skin. They then hold the dermatoscope on to your skin so they can examine the area very closely. This does not hurt or affect your skin.

Photographs

Your specialist also takes photographs of the abnormal area. This makes it easier to look for changes over time, if necessary.

What happens next

Removal

Your specialist will remove the mole if they think it might be melanoma skin cancer. They might do this during the same appointment or book you in for another appointment.

Monitoring

Your specialist may think that they don’t need to remove it straightaway, but they are not completely sure that it is harmless. In this case, they will ask you to go back in 3 months to see if there are any changes.

Reassurance

If your specialist thinks it is harmless, they will reassure you. They will give you advice on staying safe in the sun, what skin changes to look out for and to go back to your GP if you have any new changes or are concerned. 

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.