Moles are extremely common, with most people having moles somewhere on their body. A mole is a small coloured spot on the skin which is made up of a cluster of cells known as melanocytes, which are responsible for producing the pigment in your skin. Occasionally these melanocytes grow in a cluster instead of being spread out, which results in the formation of a mole.
The average adult has between 10-40 moles and the majority of them will be nothing to worry about, however some moles can develop into melanoma skin cancer. There are around 16,202 cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed every year in the UK and 86% of these cases are preventable.
It is therefore really important to check your moles regularly for any changes, especially if you have lots of moles in hard to reach areas. This can be difficult to do on your own and it can be hard to remember what each mole looks like in order to notice any worrying changes. This is where a mole mapping clinic can help. Here at Everything Skin Clinic, we are able to provide mole checks using the state-of-the-art Fotofinder mole mapping machine.
HOW DOES MOLE MAPPING WORK?
Mole mapping offers a great safeguard against skin cancer by catching suspicious moles before they evolve into melanoma.
During your mole mapping appointment, you will be seen by a highly qualified consultant dermatologist who is an expert in skin cancer. Dermatology mole mapping at Everything Skin Clinic involves using the state-of-the-art Fotofinder machine as a mole checking service to map your moles and monitor any changes.
The machine takes high-quality images of your body, recording and mapping all of your moles. An artificial intelligence algorithm then assesses each individual mole and provides a cancer risk analysis. The images and the analysis is then reviewed by your dermatologist who can then further investigate particular moles if necessary. As part of the mole mapping service, you will be provided with a record of your mole map and the digital images will be securely stored for future reference. You will be invited back for an annual review to check any changes to your moles, but of course if you notice any changes before then it is important to get them checked. When you come for your next appointment, your previous images will be compared with your new images. The ability to compare images and easily identify even the smallest of changes to any one of your moles makes it a highly accurate tool in the development of skin cancer.
WHAT DOES MOLE MAPPING DETECT?
As with many conditions, the sooner skin cancer is detected the better and dermatology mole mapping helps to diagnose melanoma and other skin cancers as early as possible. If treated quickly, skin cancer has an 87% survival rate.
Mole mapping is used to detect both new moles and any changes to your existing moles, as well as assessing them all for signs of skin cancer. By comparing highly accurate and detailed images of your moles over time, mole maps are able to identify new lesions and make precise comparisons on how your moles are changing over time. This assists your dermatologist in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.
Mole mapping is a much better tool in the detection of skin cancer compared to checking individual moles in isolation as it has been found that 72% of all melanoma skin cancer does not develop from an existing mole, but instead develops through a new mole which has formed on healthy skin. In order to be able to diagnose these cancerous moles as soon as possible to get the best possible outcome, the whole skin must be photographed, recorded, and checked for changes, not just the existing individual moles. It is however important to note that most moles will appear over time during the first 30 years of life and can appear and disappear in response to hormonal changes such as puberty and pregnancy. This means that not all new moles will be a cause for concern and a new mole appearing doesn’t mean it is cancerous. Regular mole checks through the mole mapping machine will allow these new moles to be closely monitored and assessed for skin cancer.
If during your mole map and subsequent further investigations, it is identified that you have a suspicious or cancerous mole, here at Everything Skin Clinic we offer a mole removal service should your dermatologist recommend this is the most appropriate treatment for you. Moles can be removed in different ways depending on their location, size and characteristics, with the most commonly used techniques involving shaving or using a laser to remove the mole from the skin. This is a simple and safe treatment and your dermatologist will ensure all cancerous cells are removed during this treatment.
Mole mapping is also beneficial in the detection of benign moles and can reduce the unnecessary removal of moles which pose no threat. As the technology is so accurate and reliable, your mind can be put at rest knowing that a mole you may have been worrying about is safe and doesn’t require any further treatment.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU MAP YOUR MOLES?
It is recommended that you have an annual mole map so your moles are regularly compared to your previous images and any changes can be identified and if required treated, as soon as possible. Of course, if you notice any changes to any existing moles or any new moles in between appointments, it is important to make an appointment and get them checked by your dermatologist straight away.
In between mole map appointments, it is vital to protect your skin and your existing moles. It is important to:
- Use SPF in your daily skincare routine – most moisturisers contain sun protection
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 which blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays
- Avoid being out in the sun when it is at its strongest, around midday
- Cover the skin with lightweight clothing when exposed to the sun
- Wear protective items such as a hat and sunglasses when out in the sun
- Do not use sunbeds
- Avoid tanning
SHOULD YOU SEE A DERMATOLOGIST FOR MOLE MAPPING?
It is a good idea to check your moles yourself at home once a month, especially if you have lots of moles or freckles, have fair hair or skin, use sunbeds or have a family history of skin cancer. When checking your moles, it is recommended to use both a full length and a handheld mirror so you are able to check your body all over. Stand in a well-lit room and ask a family member or your partner to help you check the hard to reach areas. Moles can look very different to each other which can make it hard to identify moles which may be worrying. The key thing you are looking for is if your mole is changing.
If you notice any suspicious changes, or you aren’t confident you know what you are looking for, you should make an appointment for a mole map with a Dermatologist at Everything Skin Clinic. As during mole mapping your whole body is photographed and all moles mapped and recorded, you can feel safe that any changes or any new moles will not be missed by the Fotofinder system.
Ask yourself the following questions and if any of them apply to you, you will benefit from dermatology mole mapping:
- Do you have multiple moles, particularly more than 50?
- Is there a history of skin cancer in your family?
- Do you already have melanoma skin cancer?
- Do you have large moles, more than 2 inches in diameter?
- Have you noticed any changes to any of your moles?
- Have you noticed any new moles on your body?
- Have you ever had severe sunburn?
- Do you have very pale skin?
HOW EFFECTIVE IS PROFESSIONAL MOLE MAPPING?
Mole mapping using the Fotofinder machine is the most comprehensive safeguard against skin cancer and is recommended for anyone who is worried about their moles. Skin cancer is a very dangerous disease and is often referred to as a silent killer as changes to moles often go undetected or people don’t understand the importance of keeping track of changes to existing moles or the development of new moles.
Mole mapping enables melanoma skin cancer to be detected when it is at its most curable, improving the chances of survival and reducing its ability to spread around the body. Research has shown that mole mapping catches melanoma thinner and earlier at a much higher survival rate. Melanoma caught early has about a 99% survival rate of five years, whereas if you catch it later, this rate can drop to around 60%.
In another study, high-risk patients showed an increased sensitivity in the detection of melanoma when dermoscopy images were able for comparison. The chance of successfully detecting melanoma skin cancer rose 17% with the use of digital images. It has also been found that mole mapping assisted with detecting very subtly changing moles which didn’t fit the classical clinical features of melanoma, showing the importance of mole mapping as a tool to assist medical experts and key in early detection.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DERMATOLOGIST MOLE MAPPING?
The Fotofinder system which we use at Everything Skin Clinic has revolutionised full body mole checking and there are a huge amount of benefits to having your moles professionally checked by a dermatologist.
- Most advanced method for monitoring the skin
- Used by opinion leaders worldwide
- A revolution in skin cancer prevention
- Allows an accurate skin map to be created in five minutes
- Melanoma can be detected within minutes
- Melanoma can be detected at an early stage to maximize treatment effectiveness
- All moles are mapped and examined, including those on the palms and soles
- All skin is mapped for detection of new moles or lesions
Here at Everything Skin Clinic, we believe that there is no substitute to a full body mole check. Our mole check clinic is a consultant dermatologist led service and is the first in Manchester offering automated total mole mapping.
If you would like any more information about our mole mapping service, or are interested to find out more about mole checks, please give us a call on 0161 509 1294.
MEET OUR EXPERTS
DR VISHAL MADAN
Dr Vishal Madan is the founder and medical director at Everything Skin Clinic. He is a Consultant Dermatologist, Laser and Dermatological Surgeon. Dr Madan specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all skin conditions. Being the President of the British Medical Laser Association, he is the leading skin expert with extensive experience in the laser treatment of rosacea, facial redness, blemishes, rhinophyma, cysts, birthmarks, acne including acne scarring. He has a special interest in skin cancer treatment, using Mohs Micrographic surgery; a specialized technique which is by far the best method of treating basal cell carcinomas or BCC’s.
Why choose Everything Skin Clinic?
At Everything Skin Clinic™, we have a team of highly trained Consultant dermatologists, who have completed specialist training in Dermatology and are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council. All our consultants hold substantive contracts with the best Dermatology centres in leading NHS hospitals. Therefore, you can be certain of the highest quality private care.
We offer a range of treatments and can offer one, or a combination of treatments to achieve the best results. Unlike many other clinics, we can offer diagnosis and treatment all under one roof by expert consultant dermatologist, so you know you’ll be in safe hands.