Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up


We will be discontinuing this community as of April 1, 2014. We value and appreciate your participation in this community and hope that you will continue to post your questions in the WebMD Cancer Community.
In-situ melanoma- how often is this misdiagnosed?
An_206015 posted:
About two years ago, I noticed some change in a mole on my chest. Even though the family doctor I was using then recommended against it, I insisted on having it tested (he didn't think it was anything to be concerned about). The results came back a week later as an "in-situ melanoma". I did have it removed immediately. If I had taken his initial advice and let it go, I don't know what would have happened, so I switched doctors to a board certified dermatologist who recommended that we use a different lab for testing of some of my other moles (a better lab, in his opinion). All of the others came back as slightly-severely atypical moles and I did have several removed. My question is whether the initial diagnosis of the first one might have actually been inaccurate- and just been an atypical mole. What percentage of atypical moles are misdiagnosed by inaccurate testing labs as melanoma? Is this common? I'm asking because the removal of the first one left a sizable scar on my chest which is just now starting to fade two years later...and I'd like to avoid this procedure again if possible...Many thanks!! -Gene
janetrk responded:
My first melanoma was on the top of my back. I had TWO dermatologists tell me it was nothing. I then went to a third who had just opened her practice - not for the thing on the back but for the DSAP (sun damage keratoses). I had her take a look at my back and when she saw it, she asked if she could biopsy it. I wasn't worried. Well, it was a melanoma - ugly, irregular black place. Scary isn't it.
gp1957A1A replied to janetrk's response:
Many thanks!! I appreciate your comments...It shows us that if you have a question- get a few qualified opinions and then make a decision. I am in the category of people with over 100 moles- so I read that I am in somewhat of a higher risk category...I plan to have a dermatologist examine me at least once a year for the rest of my life...Let me know if you hear from any of your friends or associates about an actual lab diagnosis which was inaccurate- that's what I'm truly curious about....At the end of the day- if you have a reasonable doubt- get another opinion!! Best- G.P.
Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Anon_23391,

I found a slideshow with pictures showing possible cancerous moles. I hope it helps.
gp1957A1A replied to Lainey_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thanks very much...I did see the slide show- very helpful...I'm hoping to hear back from others who may have had a misdiagnosis of something as a melanoma (perhaps "pre-cancerous" or in-situ) which was really an atypical mole...I suspect this happens...just not sure how often....
Lainey_WebMD_Staff replied to gp1957A1A's response:
Sometimes this exchange is slow to answer. You should also post in other cancer exchanges too.
gp1957A1A replied to Lainey_WebMD_Staff's response:
Many thanks!! Just curious- are you aware of anyone you know who's had a possible misdiagnosis of a melanoma (which was actually just an "atypical mole")? I know there are "gradations and severely atypical moles can become cancerous (possibility)...My feeling is that the quality of the labwork is critical- one person might call it an atypical other might call it an "in situ" melanoma (least problematical, sometimes also called "pre-cancerous"...Let me know....
Lainey_WebMD_Staff replied to gp1957A1A's response:
Hi gp195A1A,

Labs will make mistakes. You should post this question as a discussion to get better responses.

Helpful Tips

Living with Cancer
From personal experience, my first year, like yours, has been difficult at times. I have been treated for prostate cancer, and I will not ... More
Was this Helpful?
13 of 23 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.