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Old 08-28-2003, 04:08 PM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is offline
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Large facial moles: Why not have them removed?

This question is prompted by the arrival of a visiting relative who has two large moles on her face, one on each cheek. Why (do you suppose) do some people with large facial moles not have them removed?

A dear friend of mine also has two large moles on her face, one just below her eye and one further down on her cheek. They are very distracting when you look at her, although I have mostly learned to tune them out. I have always wondered (though I would NEVER be so rude or intrusive as to ask her) whether they aren't always being irritated or caught on things (such as when rubbing her eyes or washing her face). My friend is not the type to be concerned at all as to whether she looks "attractive," so I know she wouldn't do it for that reason, but I would think that they must be annoying from a practical standpoint.

Mr. S had a few dozen small moles removed from his face before I met him, because they irritated him and made shaving difficult. I used to have a large mole on the back of my neck, and I had to be careful when brushing my hair, but it was not that visible, even when I had very short hair. Finally it became irritated and bloody when I was using moist heat on my neck for pain, and I had it removed.

As I hinted before, I would never dream of asking someone in person about it, or making an issue of it in any way in my dealings with them. It's completely their business. But I'm just curious as to why one would choose to leave it there (assuming one could afford the medical procedure, which in my case was quite cheap). From my point of view, if it were me I'd have the dang thing taken off, no question about it. Same if it were my child. I can't even stand to have a large zit, bug bite, scab, or other weird thing on my face -- I'm forever touching and playing with them, and can't seem to leave them alone. Having a permanent "fixture" would drive me batty, I think.

Do any Dopers have large facial moles, and/or have you had any removed? Why or why not? Medical Dopers, is there any medical reason why it would be BAD to remove a mole or growth from the face?
Old 08-28-2003, 04:30 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Well, one reason is the cost. Unless it's covered by your insurance--which most moles probably would not be unless they were deemed "medical necessities"-- you could run over $200 (per mole) for the bill when you include the pathologist's report.

But to answer your question, over the past ten years, I have had three moles removed from my face, all because they got in the way of shaving (i.e., I was constantly nicking them). I also had two removed from my back, one because it looked "suspicious" (turned out it was dysplastic, but not cancerous), and another because it also looked dysplastic (turned out it wasn't--it just looked dysplastic).

I do have one more that I want to have removed, on the right side of my neck, toward the back.
Old 08-28-2003, 04:37 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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If it's just cosmetic, insurance won't always cover them - but I guess that falls under your medical procedure caveat. Also, I would have a problem with going around with a big sore/stitches/whatever on my face until they healed. I guess it wouldn't be any different than having a zit, in that respect.

To be honest, these days I don't notice my moles unless someone points them out. Then I tend to get mopey for quite some time about them, and extremely self-conscious and down. My dad had quite a few of them, and my sister and I inherited the tendency - most are just dark brown spots but some do get raised. I have dozens of little spots on my arms, fewer on the rest of the body.

I have two next to my mouth that would be nice to remove (there are some flat ones elsewhere on my face too, but those aren't as distracting I guess), but near the mouth I think it'd take a long time to heal as that part moves a lot. I guess I also start thinking about all the others and just wonder where I should stop as long as I'm getting myself carved up.

I had three removed in college - two from my neck and one at my waist, all were raised and would get bumped/rubbed. The one at the waist was essentially cauterized to close it up, but it didn't work or something. I had walked a few blocks back to the dorm, realized when I got there that I was bleeding, and I had a huge bloodstain on the side of my (red, fortunately) shorts. Apparently I looked extremely pale too. Plus I still remember the sound when one was snipped off my neck - it sounded like hair being cut but I knew it was skin. Brrr.
Old 08-28-2003, 04:43 PM
Simple Dreamer Simple Dreamer is offline
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I had a great aunt that had one on the end of her nose. She did have it removed and it appearently came back. It was huge too. I recently had one taken off the side of my neck. Any time I wore a necklace it got hung up on it... very annoying.
Old 08-28-2003, 06:22 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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My cousin was born with a huge birthmark the size of a quarter on her cheek-and my aunt and uncle had it removed as soon as possible. She has a scar from it even now, (she's seventeen) because it took so many procedures to have it completely taken off.

I would probably have any big moles removed-just because of the possibility of cancer alone.
Old 08-28-2003, 06:35 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Why should I get it removed? I don't have to look at it--you do!

Okay, I don't have any. But funny, no?
Old 08-28-2003, 06:54 PM
Peach Peach is offline
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Posts: 291
i had a mole appear on my nose. it was a clear mole (looked like i was getting a zit) and it bothered me alot! so i had it removed (shaved off.)
about a year later it comes back!!! Apparently my nose still had some cells living in the skin to make the mole come back. BOOOO!
so i had it removed again.
so far so good.
Old 08-28-2003, 07:11 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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I asked my doctor if I could have a mole on my neck removed and he said that it was not a good idea unless there was some compelling reason (such as it being suspected of turning malignant) - he said that they are not just a surface phenomenon and that removal might endanger some of the delicate structures in the neck (nerves, blood vessels etc) either through direct injury during surgery or as a result of post-operative complications such as infection.

Maybe he was just being pessimistic though; is QtM around? How much sense was he talking?
Old 08-28-2003, 07:25 PM
arachnidlove arachnidlove is offline
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I have a couple of moles on my neck. Their about the size of a diameter of an eraser head. I have been asked why I don't have them removed. You wanna know why? I actually like them. They've been there all my life. I'm used to them. I check them to make sure they don't change shape, but other than that they don't bother me.
Old 08-28-2003, 08:03 PM
j666 j666 is online now
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My doctor removed a mole on my back as 'medically necessary' because it was under my bra strap; so probably any mole could get removed if it was being irritated a lot. [But that was just coring it out like an apple core with a local. I didn't care about a scar.]

My doctor also told me it makes more sense to just remove the entire mole for testing than do a biopsy.
Old 08-28-2003, 09:32 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Well, the ones I had removed for the shaving inconvenience didn't involve much in the way of "surgery." The doc just shaved them down flush with the skin. No stitches. Just a bandage.

Now the two on my back that looked suspicious, they "punched out," and I did need stitches for them.
Old 08-28-2003, 10:02 PM
TwoOnes TwoOnes is offline
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My oldest son had one removed from his cheek (think John Boy Walton) when he was ten. It bothered him and he decided that he would rather have a scar than a mole.

Now, four years later, the scar is barely visible. If you weren't looking for it, you wouldn't even notice.

He has another one on his chin that is getting in the way now that he's beginning to shave. I told him he could have that one removed too and he said he'd let me know when he's ready.l

I'm glad he had the first one removed because it seemed to improve his self image. Now you focus on his big green eyes instead of the dime-sized mole.
Old 08-28-2003, 10:35 PM
lovelee lovelee is offline
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Posts: 385
I haven't had any moles removed. I do have a mole on my left cheek, in the typical "beauty mark" spot - I've always had it for as long as I can remember. I keep an eye on it, and it's never done anything suspicious.. it just sort of stays there, unchanging.

My dermatologist is usually very vehement about mole removal, and he's only mentioned it in passing, so I figure I'm doing okay.
Old 08-28-2003, 11:42 PM
Speaker for the Dead Speaker for the Dead is offline
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The kind of moles that bother me (the only kind) are the huge ones that old ladies with accents (sorry I can't be more specific!) seem to have... huge, spherical ones!
Old 08-29-2003, 01:24 AM
j.c. j.c. is offline
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Not all moles are created equal. Some will never do anything naughty. Others need to be watched carefully.

The OP seems to be asking why people don't have facial moles removed for cosmetic reasons and make life easier. I'd guess - stop the presses - the people just don't care.

I'm sure people look at me and wonder why I put on lipstick, and no other makeup. And I catch myself looking at people and wondering why they spent so much time getting dressed but didn't bother to touch up their chipped nail polish.

Different standards.

Having a mole removed is one of those things that can be "medically neccessary"... if you get my drift. For example, thousands of people have "medically neccessary" gall bladder surgery long before it becomes medically neccessary and in many cases when lifestyle changes would solve the problems.
Old 08-29-2003, 08:19 AM
Krisfer the Cat Krisfer the Cat is offline
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You win the prizej.c..

WHY should I have them removed just to suit YOUR ideas of beauty? I have moles all over my body it hasn't stopped me from attracting guys or getting laid. I had one b/f do a dot to dot with the moles and freckles on my back.
I have a mole on my face at the side of my nose. I don't see it unless someone (rudely as in "hey whats that thing on your face") points it out. It's just part of my facial landscape. I have another "beauty spot" on my cheek.

On the other side, I do have a mole that I am watching. I may need to have it removed for medical reasons
We discover when we map the 2004 election results that the states for Kerry have the most Universities and the states for Bush have the most UFO sightings.
Old 08-29-2003, 09:29 AM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is offline
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I didn't say anything about beauty, ability to attract guys, or getting laid. I was talking about the practical aspects of a large protrusion on your face getting rubbed on, irritated, getting in the way of shaving, etc. If you will reread the OP, you will also note that I said I would not judge people for such a thing and would never bring it up. I was just curious about the thinking behind removing it or not. As little trouble as the mole on my neck was, I was glad when it was gone.

Thanks to everyone for your responses.
Old 08-29-2003, 10:20 AM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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Another random factor would be that ones on the side of the face may not be very prominent in the mirror, since you're seeing them at least partially in profile. While an observer usually sees your face at 3/4, and they are more obvious.
Old 08-29-2003, 04:08 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Location: Madison WI
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I haven't had any moles but I have had a lot of other icky little things growing off me that I had removed. Skin tags, hemangiomas, sebaceous cysts, that sort of thing. I would have anything growing off my face taken off because I would find it extremely gross to have a fleshy thing other than my nose growing off my face. I'm seeing a guy right now (tonight in fact) and he has a skin tag and a hairy mole on his back (the only spot on his back where hair grows is out of this mole and it's long and very coarse). I avoid touching them because I find them rather gross but would not suggest he have them removed unless I noticed they were changing. But the rest of him more than makes up for the two yucky square inches which is what leads me to believe is the reason why he never had them removed himself.
Old 08-29-2003, 05:18 PM
GingerOfTheNorth GingerOfTheNorth is offline
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I have a flattish mole which grows hair. It is on the left side of my face. It's pale, is about the same colour as a freckle, and not very big (maybe the size of a pinky finger nail). I shave or pluck out the hair, and it's barely noticeable. It just doesn't bother me all that much.


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