What is Nonsurgical Mole Testing?
One of the deadliest types of skin cancer in the US is melanoma. Using Dermtech Pigmented Lesion Assay (PLA), we offer nonsurgical mole testing to detect melanoma early. This genomic, scar-free test allows us to assess abnormal-looking moles without needing a biopsy. Within the provided sample, Genomic testing looks at all of your genes for any irregular changes in alterations within your genetic code. For your convenience, we can perform the test in-office or through HIPAA-compliant telehealth appointments. If you have a suspicious-looking mole, it's imperative that you reach out as soon as possible. We encourage you to call either of our offices in League City or Webster, TX.
Is Nonsurgical Mole Testing For You?
If you have an irregular-looking mole, it's very important to have it checked out. Even if you don't suspect that you have an abnormal mole, we still highly recommend attending yearly skin exams. This will help us detect any changes and ensure the health of your skin. One of the most effective ways to look for melanoma is by using the ABCDE method. When assessing new moles or moles you've had for a long time, you can use the ABCDE method to determine whether you need to schedule an appointment. These include:
- Asymmetry: The mole halves do not match.
- Borders: The edges look scalloped, blurred, or notched.
- Color: The color changes shades of brown, tan, red, blue or pink.
- Diameter: The mole changes size in diameter.
- Evolution: The mole changes in appearance, such as color, size, shape, or other new symptoms, like discharge, bleeding, or itching.
How Does Nonsurgical Mole Testing Work?
This innovative testing allows us to perform the test in-office or through a HIPAA-compliant video conference. PLA uses a patch that adheres to the skin. Once you peel off the patch, skin cells stick to it, and we can test those cells at a specialized laboratory. We'll examine your skin cells for two genes that detect the presence of melanoma. These particular genes help us properly diagnose melanoma. Because this test uses a patch, you won't have a scar like you would with a normal, scalpel biopsy.
What to Expect From Nonsurgical Mole Testing?
According to DermTech's website, PLA's chance of not detecting present melanoma is less than 1%. One of the most exciting things about this advanced procedure is the ability to detect melanoma without the need for a scalpel biopsy, which can leave a scar. With PLA, our dermatologists can assess cells across the entire lesion and diagnose melanoma more accurately. Following your skin exam, we'll schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the results of your test. If needed, our team can create a tailored treatment plan to manage your melanoma.
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Mole Testing FAQ
What's the difference between a normal mole and a cancerous mole?
A normal mole is round or oval with a smooth edge and about 1/4 inch in size (6mm). If you have a mole that is growing in size, irregularly shaped, changing color, bleeding, crusty, itchy, or sore, you need to have it examined by a dermatologist.
How does DermTech nonsurgical mole testing work?
DermTech uses a smart sticker to lift cells from your target spot, most commonly a suspicious mole. The sticker is simply applied to the spot, pressed down, lifted off, and sent to a lab. Unlike traditional biopsies, which require taking a sample, usually by cutting a small section of the mole out and relying on a doctor to identify cancerous cells under a microscope, DermTech uses advanced RNA and DNA technology with a much higher accuracy rate.
What are the different types of moles?
Moles are a very common type of skin growth, often appearing as small dark brown spots. Most moles are completely harmless and rarely become cancerous. The most common types of moles include:
- Benign nevi - these are common round moles and usually form during childhood and into early adulthood. These have a very low chance of developing into cancer.
- Dysplastic nevi - these moles have irregular edges, aren’t perfectly round, and may be flat or raised. These also have a low instance of turning into skin cancer.
- Congenital nevi - these are moles you are born with or which develop soon after birth. Children who have a large congenital nevus (a single large mole) or many congenital nevi may be at a higher risk for skin cancer later in life.
What percentage of tested moles are melanoma?
In a study done by the American Academy of Dermatology, about 7% of moles biopsied were found to be cancerous.
When do moles need to be removed?
When moles become cancerous, they’ll need to be removed. This can be performed as a simple outpatient surgery procedure by one of our skilled doctors at Clear Lake Dermatology. You can use the ABCDE guide above to get a general sense if you should be concerned about a mole, but you’ll need to speak with a doctor and have an examination and possibly lab testing to know for sure if a mole is cancerous.
Does it hurt to get a mole removed?
Mole removal can be performed with very little pain or discomfort. The treatment area around the mole will be numbed with a local anesthetic before the procedure. After the mole is removed, the incision will be closed with small stitches. While scarring is typically minimal, you should expect a small scar. If scarring is a concern, you can talk to your doctor at Clear Lake Dermatology about scar removal and minimization procedures.
Plan Your Procedure
- How Long It Takes
- 20 minutes
Early Detection For Melanoma
Pigmented lesion assay (PLA) can detect the early signs of melanoma without needing a biopsy, which leaves a scar and requires an in-office appointment. It also allows us to continue monitoring any changes in suspicious moles. Using a HIPPA-compliant telehealth conferencing system and a PLA patch, we can help you determine whether you have skin cancer from the comfort of your home. If you notice any changes to a mole, it's critical to have a dermatologist assess it, so they can provide the best treatment plan for you. Please call Clear Lake Dermatology in Webster or League City, TX to learn more about this advanced testing.