Anyone can get skin cancer and chances to survive melanoma depend on how deep it has gone. Moles go through some changes before they become cancerous. Mole mapping can help identify changes in moles which allows earlier, more accurate detection of melanoma.
While it’s normal to develop moles and most of them are not harmful, it’s very important to keep track of new moles and changes happening to the pre-existing ones.
What is Mole mapping?
Mole mapping is a safe, non-invasive way of skin cancer prevention.
It is a screening service using advanced digital technology to map moles on the body from head to toe. The results can be compared to identify new moles or changes in pre-existing moles over time, including any which show signs of potential malignant melanoma, a common form of skin cancer.
The role of mole mapping is to provide an image which can be used as a baseline for future monitoring of the moles. It is intended to take photographs of the body to detect any unusual moles using a special magnifying light (dermatoscope image). These dermatoscope photographs can help identify new moles or changes in pre-existing moles.
Why should I get mole mapping photos done?
You should consider mole mapping, particularly if you are in a higher risk group (1), as skin cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Melanoma, a form of cancer that begins in cells that make the pigment melanin, is one of the most dangerous cancer types and leads to thousands of deaths per year.
Melanoma is more likely to spread to nearby tissues and other parts of the body and can be harder to cure. Finding and treating melanoma skin cancer early may help prevent death from melanoma. Mole mapping is an effective screening tool for detecting early skin changes associated with melanoma.
The early detection of skin cancer delivers the best chances for survival. When melanoma is detected early by a physician, the cure rate is over 95% because it can be excised before it starts spreading to other parts of the body.
Higher risk groups (1):
- Fair skin type
- Past history of chronic sun exposure
- Repeated history of bad sunburns
- Repeated use of sunbeds
- Previous history of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer
- Family history of melanoma skin cancer
- Age – elderly people are more prone to get skin cancer
- Certain medical conditions – for example, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia may suppress the immune system and increase the risk of skin cancers developing
- Patients with organ transplants are at high risk
- Any patient on immunosuppressive drugs is also at higher risk of skin cancer
Consultation and treatment
As part of your Mole Mapping consultation at King’s College Hospital, you will initially be seen by a Consultant in Family Medicine experienced in the identification and management of abnormal skin lesions. They will take a detailed medical and skin history and do an assessment. You will then have a series of high definition digital photos taken using the Mole Mapping machine. The process takes around 30 minutes, depending on the number of moles you have. If we identify any suspicious looking moles, a more detailed picture will be taken using a dermatoscope. Should any mole require removal due to its suspicious appearance, you will be referred to our team of on-site Consultant Plastic Surgeons who are experts in the removal of skin lesions, providing you with the best cosmetic outcome by reducing scarring.
Why Choose King’s Clinics?
By having your Mole Mapping service provided by King’s College Hospital London, you can be confident that you are receiving a world class British Consultant led service by our Multidisciplinary team of Family Medicine, Dermatology and Plastic Surgery doctors. We also use the cutting edge FotoFinder technology system, to ensure that every mole on your body is recorded and tracked, so nothing suspicious is overlooked.
Melanoma skin cancers are one of the most common cancers worldwide. In every hour of every day, someone will die from this dangerous skin cancer. Schedule a skin screening appointment today to find out if you’re a good candidate for mole mapping.