Could pathologist misdiagnose melanoma? Should i get second opinion?

Posted By
12/14/2013 8:54pm
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Replies: 8

I have had a funny looking mole on my back for (as long as i can remember 3 years) but it is possibly longer. My boyfriend said it never eally changed but always worried me. I got it removed two weeks ago and the derm did say it looked odd but he wasnt too concerned about it. He told me that when looking under the dermascope it didnt have an blue or white halos, color regression, rapid cell movement.. all that was was spotting?? I think thats what he said. Anyways he sent it to the lab (called Mohs-tek biospy prep lab) and about a week and half later got a call from the nurse to tell me everything was fine. It was benign. I was overjoyed to hear the news. I cried to her saying thank you, you don't know how much stress ive been; waiting for the results. That was 3 days ago.

Now i am thinking, they told me it was benign. But what if they misdiagnosed it. How common of an occurence is a melanoma misdiagnosed? 

Questions have been running through my head: Should i trust the pathologist? It that company a reputable company? 

I sound crazy but i want an accurate answer, i don't wnat this thought to linger in my mind of "what ifs"

Does this sound justified to get it re-examined or am i just being paranoid. Does it cost anything to ask your derm if they can do a second pathology report on my mole, i don't have insurance so price is a concern. But i am willing to pay the cost if i get an accurate answer. 

Has this happen to anyone? What should i expect or do.

You can research the lab and the pathologist.  I'd request a copy of the pathology report.  I'd research to see if the slides were read by a "pathologist" or a "dermatopathologist".  The dermatopathologist specializes in reading skin tissue and I'd be pretty surprised if melanoma was misdiagnosed as benign.  Now if the pathology says something along the lines of severely atypical - technically that is benign but it's much closer to melanoma than just "benign".

But from my standpoint, if the lesion hadn't changed in the last three years, I'd be pretty surprised if it iwere melanoma or anything of concern.  Change it the #1 sign for concern and if yours hadn't changed in three years, it just wouldn't be high on my worry list.  (I've had 3 melanoma primaries). 

I'd probably start with just the pathology report and the pathologist before I'd send the slides for another reading.  If it really is a benign mole, there's no real reason to send it on.  And if a dermatopathologist read it, I'd seriously doubt a misdiagnosis of that degree.  All in all, I'd say you're probably in good shape.  Just do a little more research before you let your anxiety run away with you.  If you post your entire pathology report here, we can probably give an "opinion" as to our level of concern as well.

Best wishes,


I agree with Janner-- the most important thing you can do to put your mind at ease is to get a copy of your pathology report and read it carefully. If you still have concerns, post your path report here.

I, too, would feel a little uncomfortable if someone just told me over the phone, "benign". That seems to be the same as saying "trust me, you're OK". But if my path report said "benign nevus with mild atypia" then I would feel more secure that the pathologist really did look at it carefully. And the pathologist/dermatopathologist distinction is important, too.

I think that once you get more solid information you will feel more secure, or at least know what other steps you want to take, if any.

Thanks that does ease my mind. I have yet to get my Pathology report. Since it was the weekend and all but i plan i retrieving it this week, probably monday or tuesday. 

I was just skeptical because the lady over the phone just told me itwas benign and not much else. I was estatic but with anything that you expect to be cancerous you want more answers. haha

I researched Mohs-tek, and their lab focuses primarily on skin biopsies. That is a good sign.  I guess thats why there name is called MOHS-tek. haha

I shall post my pathology result sometime this week. Thank you :]

Oh and to add to the whole (mole changing thing) 
It did change. Not by a substantial amount but i did feel like it was getting larger. in 3 years my boyfriend said it probably got about 2-3 mm larger from when we originally met. 

I have had that mole on my back for a long time, but since it was on my back i could never really keep an eye on it. 

Though when i would remember my mole was there i felt like it was bigger or more jagged looking. 
(Don't know if that was from my paranoia) 


Got my report in the mail. Diagnosis stated "Compound Melancytic Nevus" 
So i am in the clear. Have follow up few days from now :]

Hooray!! You can breathe a sigh of relief!!

But, please, if you ever again have a mole that changes and worries you, insist on a punch biopsy so that the depth of the lesion can be deterimed accurately.

Good for you for taking quick action and for insisting on complete information. Have a wonderful holiday.

If you have other back moles, have someone take a sharp picture of your back with a centimeter/millimeter ruler in it as a check point

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.