Distinguishing between melanoma and a mole is not an easy task, even for dermatologists who have been practicing for years. A misdiagnosis, which could be classified as medical malpractice, can have serious implications on your health. If you have reason to believe that you did not receive an accurate skin cancer diagnosis from your Texas doctor, here are some important things to know.
Benign skin tumors
A nevus is a benign tumor, which is often referred to as a mole. Nevi are usually not apparent on a baby’s body at birth but can start to appear in children and teens. Most moles do not cause pain or health issues. However, people who have more than 50 normal moles or more than five atypical moles are more likely to develop melanoma, which is the most aggressive type of skin cancer. This is why medical malpractice cases concerning skin cancer are so serious.
Cancerous skin tumors
Melanoma tumors are multicolored and irregularly shaped while moles are one color and are usually circular. It is important for individuals to perform a self-examination each month to find melanoma in the early stages. Medical misdiagnosis can occur when a doctor examines melanoma and mistakes it for a mole or if a patient is misdiagnosed with skin cancer and receives treatment when they do not have cancer.
It is important to note that most moles are not cancerous, but certain types of moles carry a bigger risk of developing skin cancer. Around 2-8% of white individuals have atypical moles that are of various colors and shapes with irregular borders, and these moles are more likely to develop into melanoma.
Since it can be difficult to tell the difference between a mole and melanoma, it is unfortunately common for some doctors to confuse the two. If your doctor misidentified a mole that turned out to be cancerous, contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to see if you could be entitled to compensation.