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Can I get a mole removed on the NHS?

It depends. The most important reason for having a mole removed is to rule out any cancerous changes.

Your GP will refer you to a dermatologist (skin specialist) if they have concerns that your mole has any abnormal cells. If the dermatologist thinks your mole could have any abnormal or cancerous cells, they will remove the mole (in a procedure known as a biopsy) to check it under the microscope.

In general, moles are not removed for cosmetic reasons. If you wish to have a mole removed for cosmetic reasons, then you would almost always need to have it removed privately and will be charged a fee.

How is a mole removed?

Moles are usually removed under local anaesthetic. This is a simple procedure where a small injection is given that numbs the area of skin around the mole. The mole is then removed and sent to a laboratory to be checked under a microscope.

If the mole turns out to be cancerous or pre-cancerous, then you may have a further area of skin removed from around the scar as part of the treatment.

Changing moles

Monitoring moles is important. If they change shape and colour, this can be the sign of a melanoma (skin cancer) forming. Look out for changes in your mole, such as:

  • changing size
  • changing shape
  • changing colour or becoming patchy
  • bleeding
  • itching

If your mole shows any of these signs, see your GP.

Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 21/12/2015

Next review due: 21/12/2017