What is mole mapping?
Mole mapping screens your entire body from head to toe, using digital technology. This advanced technology provides a map of moles on the body to allow for periodic comparison. This can be used to identify new moles, moles that have changed in shape, colour or size over time. It can detect any moles that show signs of potential malignant melanoma (skin cancer) through vigilant examination and mapping comparison.
Why have mole mapping?
You should seriously consider mole mapping if you have:
- Large number of moles
- Moles that have an unusual appearance (atypical moles)
- A family history of skin cancer
- A personal history of skin cancer
- Pale skin that easily burns in the sun
- Episodes of previous severe sun burn
- Exposure to significant amounts of sunlight like working or living abroad or outdoor work
- A suppressed immune system
By early detection, mapping provides peace of mind and a thorough checking to catch suspicious moles before the develop into cancer, it also allows for visualisation and vigilance of moles that are hard to reach or a not easily visible to avoid anything being missed.
Benefits of mole mapping:
- Early detection increases chances of survival by 90%, treatment before progression.
- Screening and surgical removal is offered in the event melanoma is detected.
- Body imaging and digital photo-dermoscopy images are stored to allow for comparison in future check ups
- Your skin is assessed my specialist dermatologists
- Prevents unnecessary removal of moles that are benign.
Risks of mole mapping:
There are no risks or side effects of the mapping procedure, it is imaging.
What to expect from the procedure:
- A specialist nurse will record your medical history to identify any risk factors for skin cancer
- Images of the body are taken as a standard.
- Your skin is examined by a consultant dermatologist first, to ensure there are no potential risky lesions.
- Moles are photographed using technique called digital photo-dermoscopy, the artificial intelligence will assess any cancer risk from mole to mole
- The images are also analysed by the consultant and recorded, to allow for future comparisons
- You will be informed immediately if any moles show characteristics of melanoma.
- Screenings will be done again in 6 months, where your previous images and assessments are used as a baseline to show any changes in moles.
How much does mole mapping cost?
The cost of a mapping session is around £350, with regular mapping check-ups needed for the service to be effective. It is advised to be checked every six months.
What are the limitations on the NHS and what are the average waiting times?
The NHS offer a great app service, by which you can check your own moles and receive advice on how to look after your skin, any concerns will often be referred to a GP rather than a specialist. The drawback to this is some areas are hard to reach, you may not have noticed a mole previously in areas that are not directly visible. It does not used advanced screening to provide comprehensive view of moles, direct assessment, and constant comparison with a specialist there at every step.