Referral - skin cancer / mole


I went to see my GP this week and have been referred because a mole looks asymmetrical.

I asked the Doctor if I should be concerned and they said they wouldn’t be referring me if they weren’t concerned   

I’ve been told I need to wait 2 weeks before I’ll hear anything. I just wondered if there’s any info I can read upon as I’m now extremely anxious and sat worrying about what could happen 

  • Dear MrScott,

    Thank you for getting in touch today.  My name’s Kelly and I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists.  Welcome to our online community.

    Having an urgent referral  does not always mean that any changes are  definitely caused by a cancer of the skin such as melanoma, but it’s important to rule this out.  It allows a dermatologist (skin consultant) to assess this as quickly as possible.

    We understand that waiting for appointments and not knowing what to expect can be very stressful.  Many people are tempted to look online for answers based on the limited information they have been given so far.   

    This is unlikely to help with understanding if the mole changes are due to more concerning causes or not.  It can also be overwhelming as there is so much information available which may not be relevant  to your circumstances at this time.

    If you know which hospital or dermatology clinic you have been referred to you could phone them directly and ask to be put through to the appointments department.  They may be able to let you know if the date has been arranged yet.

    It may help to understand  what is likely to happen at your appointment.  This would usually involve  a full skin examination and a magnifying instrument called a dermatoscope to look at the mole in more detail.

    Sometimes a small procedure called a skin biopsy may be done where some of the cells are removed from the mole to be examined under a microscope in more detail.

    Depending on the tests offered the dermatologist may be able to guide you further about what any changes mean.  However, you may still have to wait a few days for biopsy results if this is done.

    It would be good to ask if there is a specialist dermatology nurse who you can get contact details of to speak to regarding any concerns after the appointment.

     Being prepared and knowing the right types of questions to ask can help.

     There are ways to try and control your anxiety during this time.  This can involve distractions by engaging with normal everyday activities such as exercise, work or meeting friends.

    Every Mind Matter’s offers some guided self-help strategies for worry and stress.

    Sometimes people find it helps to speak to one of the nurses on the support line.  Many people call us for emotional support when waiting for appointments.

    I hope this information is helpful.  Please don’t hesitate to get back in touch if needed.

    Best wishes,


    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email

    Ref: KA/PH

  • Hi Kelly 

    thank you so much for your reply - I’ve not been able to relax since I’ve been told and I’m just so worried.