Hello to all those who chanced upon this article via Googling for "mole removal Singapore" - you've come to the right place. I've had plenty of paranoid friends ask me to check on their moles recently - So I thought I'd write a little about it.
Personally, if I was really worried about a mole, I'd definitely go to a dermatologist. Reason? Even doctors themselves often have a hard time differentiating between normal-looking moles and scary ones. It takes years of accumulated experience for a doctor to confidently say "that's definitely not a mole I'd be worried about" when someone's life is at stake.
I went through a paranoid stage myself when I thought a bruise on my big toe nail might turn out to be a melanoma (a type of very aggressive skin cancer), and this was AFTER I became a doctor.
Below are 5 important facts everyone needs to know about when it comes to moles, with some information on how to go about removing your mole in Singapore at the end:
1. The ABCDE of moles
• Everyone knows about this... I hope. GPs and most doctors use this criteria to decide if moles need further evaluation by a dermatologist.
• Dermatologists can be found privately and at the National Skin Centre, for which you'll need a referral letter from your polyclinic.
• Features of your mole I'd worry about the most would be if it were increasing in size, changed colours or started bleeding. A family history of skin cancer is a huge red flag to me too.
• A simple tip most people don't realise is to photograph your mole over a time frame (say monthly), to check if it has truly changed in size - This is immensely helpful for your doctor. Also if you spend 10 shots on getting that one perfect Instagram food post, I'm sure you can spend a couple of photos on that one mole.
Note: this tip applies to all other manner of funny looking rashes - Don't go to your doctor with normal skin a month after your rash has recovered and expect him to telepathically read your mind.
2. What happens when your doctor can't decide if it's a scary mole? Also, a stitch in time saves 9
"I have a suspicious looking mole on my shoulder"
• Dermatologists can usually distinguish normal moles from pre-cancerous or cancerous ones, and advise you accordingly. However, the only way to be 110% sure a mole isn't cancerous is to go for a skin biopsy, during which your mole will be cut out and analysed under a microscope.
• This is a very minor procedure under local anaesthetic - After the mole is cut out, you'll get between 1-3 stitches, or a small electric current applied to your skin to stop any bleeding. This takes less than 15 minutes in total, and you'll be walking out the door immediately after.
• A stitch in time saves 9 - literally. If your dermatologist recommends that you have your mole removed, I'd strongly recommend going with his advise. Otherwise, a cancerous mole can result in your doctor performing a wide local excision, which requires a heck of a load more than 1-3 stitches.
• If you still can't decide whether to remove your mole, your doctor will usually request to take a photograph of your mole for monitoring, before reviewing you again in a couple of months.
3. Moles and pigment spots that increase in number as people age are almost always caused by the sun
• I can't emphasize sun protection to my patients enough - As with most things health-related, prevention is better than cure.
• Don't want to be that old man or lady with plenty of moles and pigment spots everywhere? Cover up and use sunblock. Although there are other causes too, whenever I meet an elderly patient like that, his history invariably involves a lot of sunlight exposure during his younger days.
• Lighter skin types are especially prone to sun damage and an increased risk of skin cancers - so for all those Korean-fair Song Joong Ki types, please make even more effort to protect yourself from the sun.
• Dermatologists recommend using a SPF30 sunscreen.
4. I don't like this mole. It's ugly and bothering me. Also, I'm paranoid that it's getting larger. PLEASE REMOVE THAT MOLE.
• There are several options for mole removal in Singapore - All of them carry a risk of mole recurrence, bleeding, infection and scarring - something to think about if an ugly mole is your main concern.
5. I still want it out. THAT'S WHY "MOLE REMOVAL SINGAPORE" BROUGHT ME TO YOUR PAGE. What are my options?
• There are two main options - A shave biopsy versus an excision biopsy. Personally, I'd go to the National Skin Centre and request for a consultant to carry out either procedures.
• Shaving a mole means cutting it off at the skin's surface - this is useful for moles that stick out. The area usually scabs over for a week or so before healing, but in the long run there should be minimal scarring. No stitches are needed. Although this offers a better cosmetic result, there is a higher chance of recurrence.
• An excision is required for flat moles, which involves cutting around the entire thickness of the mole and closing the skin with stitches.
• There are other options available which involve destroying the mole tissue, thus preventing doctors from further analysing the tissue for signs of cancer. This includes using liquid nitrogen to freeze it out (cryotherapy), or using lasers, electric current (electrocautery) and radiowaves (radiocautery) to burn it off.
Anyhow, I hope you've found reading this quick post about moles and removing them useful. As for the toenail I was worried about, I had 3 different dermatologists look at it before I was finally reassured that I didn't need to have the nail biopsied - I'm glad to say that that particular toenail is all nice and grown out now.
So if you are worried about any moles yourself, do make an appointment to see your doctor today.