Moles on Neck--

Posted By
4/13/2011 7:10pm
Replies: 7

Hi everyone

Sorry to bother with these seemingly petty issues (is there somewhere else I should be posting?)

I have posted lately about a few things: my toe light tan freckle that was moderately atypical, my sister's UNchanged mole that was severely atypical and the fact that I have hundreds of moles, many weird looking, many normal looking. I've had everything from benign- to mm in-situ. Sister also had in-situ. We have atypical mole syndrome.

So I have two issues: I am scared out of my mind that something on me is melanoma whether it has changed or not. Whether it is innocent looking or not. Clearly there are no rules with this. I have 5 moles (biggest might be 5mm, others smaller) on my neck. They haven't changed but look slightly atypical. Well, somehow i googled something and read that "Head and Neck Melanomas have Poorer Prognosis" -- twice as bad, Would it be crazy to get 5 moles off my neck for peace of mind? Has anyone heard of this or had melanoma on their neck or scalp? OR do any of you have moles on your neck? Is this a normal spot?

This leads me to my next problem: how do you handle this anxiety? I have been great about it for years (been dealing with this for 20++ years) but as you can see I am in the midst of a panic about it. I dont see the derm for 3 weeks and I can barely keep track of what I want off!
(the little dark one that always bothers me, the bigger slightly atypical ones on my neck? the slightly changed on neck, changed one since pregnancy, but not in the last two years) It goes on and on! She won't remove them all I'm sure, but where do I draw the line? The whole "Change" thing has been thrown out the window with my sister's severely atypical...

Other times I think why am I leaving anything questionable when it would be melanoma. Why not get 10 off and be done? (until my next scare!)


Any advice on how to balance anxiety and being vigilant w/out going overboard?

OR is is smarter to just get the 10 scariest ones off in the next few months and have peace of mind



Janner - (4/13/2011 - 8:45pm)

There is one thing I think you need to understand about your sister's severely atypical lesion.  It has likely been severely atypical for ages.... since it originally grew.  The fact that it is unchanged probably means that it would have stayed severely atypical forever.  Now if it began to change, then you would want that removed.  But it doesn't mean that is has been changing from benign to severely atypical without some surface change.  it was just made severely atypical.

The doctor's that deal with people with atypical nevus syndrome and do mole mapping on a regular basis rely on change, gut feeling, or itching.  Wholesale mole removal hasn't been shown to increase your odds against melanoma - about 50% of melanomas arise "de novo" - on new moles.  Head and neck melanoma tends to have a worse prognosis if not caught early because it is closer to vital structures.  But if caught early, it has basically the same prognosis as anywhere else.  Trunk lesions also have a worse prognosis than ones on the extremities.  You can't remove all your moles, so truthfully looking for change is still the best way to go in managing your moles. 

You might consider talking to your PCP for an anxiety drug.  Incessantly researching will not improve your anxiety, it will only make it worse.  (I speak from experience, here.  I couldn't stop researching and paid the price with my anxiety issues).

Best wishes,


Anonymous - (4/13/2011 - 8:48pm)

<p><span lang="EN">Yes, people do get melanoma on the head and neck, and I have moles on both as well. There is one on my neck that is larger than a pencil eraser and one on my face that is about the size of a pencil eraser as well. </span></p><p><span lang="EN">So, long story short, if you feel the need to have those five or 10 moles removed, please do discuss it with your derm. You need to do what makes you comfortable, but the question is-will it? Will it end there? Or will you decide to remove more? So, perhaps seeing a counselor, psychologist, church pastor, or even a psychiatrist is a good idea too to help you deal with this anxiety and ease your mind.</span></p><p><span lang="EN">On another note.</span></p><p><span lang="EN">I understand your concerns, but I am not sure this board is the proper place for you as there are many here who are in later stages and fighting active disease. In other words, I do not this this board is helping your anxiety. I think by you just being here reading the posts, you are causing yourself much unneeded worry and concern. It also seems you are online surfing as well. Another bad idea.</span></p><p><span lang="EN">Thus, you may be best able to balance your anxiety by easing yourself off this board.</span></p><p><span lang="EN">It is good to be vigilant, but I really do think being on this board may be contributing to your paranoia.</span></p>

MichaelFL - (4/13/2011 - 9:07pm)

If it would make you feel better, by all means have those 5 or 10 removed (if you doc agrees), but remember as I said in my earlier post------that melanoma may arise de-novo, which means not in a pre-existing benign mole, but rather in new moles, and sometimes melanoma even shows up in normal skin and not moles instead.

SOOOOOO….I have to agree with the others. This is not the place for you to help yourself deal with anxiety issues. Counseling and/or meds may assist you better in this manner.

Good luck to you.


This information is for general patient educational & information purposes only. It should not be used for diagnosing/treating a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your healthcare provider.

Janner - (4/13/2011 - 9:59pm)

In addition to what the others said, I am a moderator for a private Yahoo group with stage 0 and stage I melanoma patients.  If you are interested joining that type of email list, please email me (click on my name).  It's a group who understands your fears.  Many of them started here, and moved on because they couldn't take the stress caused by this place.


Anonymous - (4/14/2011 - 12:12pm)

Thanks everyone.

Janner- I will email you to probably join. Once i get through my May appts, get results, etc I wil see if I'm at ease or need some more support! I got through these phases and then am fine for months/years. Like barely checking my skin even (not smart!)

I don't want to dwell on it too much. It's been a very rough 6 months (not skin-related) but not surprised it triggered some anxiety!

Take care and I'll email you soon.


Thanks to everyone for your responses, and best wishes to everyone fighting this!!

Anonymous - (4/14/2011 - 5:56pm)

Please find another dermatologist ASAP!  Someon qualified who listens to you and will remove anything you want removed.  Why should you suffer and feel anxious?  Remember that doctors work for you.  You hire them and if you're not happy, change.  See someone else.  Get second and third opinions when needed.

Anonymous - (4/14/2011 - 7:22pm)

hi- thank you. My derm is very qualified and does listen. She will remove anything if I insist, but she also is good about 'reigning me in"  I have HUNDREDS of moles so it can become a slippery slope. In other words, I could get 5 off, feel better, want 5 more, then 10 more, etc. I don't mind scars and getting things off, but It's good for me to have someone conservative, yet level-headed if that makes sense. I would never go to someone who flat out refused to remove something- NO WAY!! But I have had someone remove everything under the sun and it made me nervous and many were benign, etc. I am staying with her but also going to try a new one who is a bit more conservative and probably alternate. I like the idea of two sets of eyes!