Knowing Your Moles: When Is The Best Time To Remove Them? Image from wikimedia licensed under CC BY 2.0

When you notice a new mole or nevus on your skin, it is best to go to a doctor and have it examined. The same thing is true for existing moles that have changed shape or size overtime. In most cases, these moles are benign or noncancerous, but it is possible that they can be an early sign of skin cancer. But you can only be sure of its diagnosis when a dermatologist checks the mole finds out what to do about it.

While you need to be aware of the changes in your moles, only a medical professional can determine if it needs to be removed. But as someone who doesn’t have any medical background, you can actually be check if the mole poses a health danger or not.

When should you undergo a mole removal procedure?

According to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the ABCDE Rule can be your guide in checking suspicious moles on your skin. It stands for:

A – Asymmetry: if the mole doesn’t have an equal balance of parts;

B – Border: if the mole doesn’t have definite edges;

C – Color: if the mole suddenly changes its color;

D – Diameter: if the mole is changing its size; and

E – Evolving: if the mole is typically transforming, or you’re experiencing symptoms like bleeding and itching.

If your mole or moles fall in any of those categories, then your doctor may conduct a surgery to have them removed before harming your health.

What are the types of mole removal procedures?

There are several types of procedures to remove the moles, and the options depend on the size of the nevus.

Laser Mole Removal – This method is usually administered on small and light moles located in visible areas of the body. A small laser will be used to remove the mole, and it doesn’t inflict an excruciating pain. You can spend around $50 to $80 for a laser mole removal. It is relatively affordable than the other methods, but it’s not effective to be done on most moles.

Shave Off – The doctor will use special tools to remove the mole from the top layer of the skin. There will be some scarring and the surface of the skin where the mole was removed from will scab over. This procedure can be administered on dark and large moles.

Excision –  A person can also have the mole and the skin around the mole cut out. This will require having the doctor remove a section of the skin. This may leave a little scar behind but the mole will be less likely to return.

Frozen – The mole can be frozen as well. The doctor will use liquid nitrogen and spray the mole with this mixture. The mole will then be removed. There may be a small blister left behind where the mole was. In most cases, the blister will heal by itself within a couple of days. Apparently, this is the most expensive option of mole removal. It costs anywhere between $200 and $600, depending on the size of the mole and the location. Like the laser procedure, this is one of the least invasive methods in removing moles.

Burning Method – A patient can choose to have their moles burnt off. Electric currents are run through a wire. This causes the wire to become very hot. The upper layer of the skin is burnt off with this wire, including the mole. More than one treatment may be needed when having this method. The treatment will cost around $200.

What are the factors affecting the cost?

There are several factors that will have an impact on the cost of mole removal. The shape and size of the mole are important. The location of the mole will also determine, which method is the right option. With any of these treatments, there is a potential for the mole to grow back. The treatment may have to be repeated. The dermatologist will also take a sample of the mole and send it away for tests to see if it is cancerous.

Can health insurance cover mole removal procedures?

Depending on the status of the mole, whether it is cancerous or not, health insurance companies may cover a part of the procedure’s overall cost. If the mole is found to be cancerous, the insurance company may cover the full cost of removal. If the mole is being removed for cosmetic reasons, then the insurance won’t help. The patient has to pay the bill from his own pocket.