Should I have my mole biopsied?
A skin lesion suspected of being a melanoma should be first photographed. It then excised completely by the dermatological surgeon. At Clinica London, that is Dr Jennifer Crawley. So, yes, a biopsy of the suspected melanoma is required.
The aim is to remove the entire melanoma. The biopsy should include the whole tumour with a clinical margin of 2 mm of normal skin and to the fat underneath. This will then allow enough tissue for a thorough analysis. Confirmation of the diagnosis is by examination of the entire lesion under the microscope. It helps the treatment to be planned, based on the Breslow thickness of the melanoma.
It is not required to have a diagnostic shave biopsy. So if only one part of the mole is biopsied, it may be that the part does not contain the melanoma, but is an ordinary mole. Whereas sitting right next to the cells biopsied in the mole, are melanoma cells. Thus the whole lesion (mole) has to be removed. Although this sounds scary, it is best for peace of mind.
A friend of mine had a suspicious lesion on her arm. It was a new mole, and she had been worried that it might be a melanoma. She immediately had a biopsy at Clinica London. After some little stitches, and 4-5 days. She had the result from the laboratory given to her via the consultant dermatologist. In her case, she was lucky it was not a melanoma. But during that time we were all aware of her anxiety. Concerned that it might be something that was malignant, that could spread or even kill her. It was with great relief that she found she did not have melanoma and that it was a different benign tumour. She did not mind having the cut, or the stitches, or a small scar afterwards. If it had been a melanoma, she would also have had peace of mind. She would have known that it was all completely removed. She would have been directed towards the appropriate treatment.