Before visiting a dermatologist, you may have checked a mole yourself. But do you know how to check effectively? If so, when would you need to visit a dermatologist?
Using your eyes and mirrors to detect malicious moles and melanoma early enough is the best way to tackle skin cancer and give yourself the best chance of recovery. A recent survey by The Dermatology Partnership found that 51% of participants weren’t checking their moles monthly, with 24% of participants not checking their moles for skin cancer in a year.
This is a worrying statistic considering that melanoma is one of, if not the most serious types of cancer around. More education must be done to help people understand the need to check their moles.
The good news for us is that a cure for melanoma is often possible. As melanoma skin cancer is found in the outer layers of the skin and lower layers of the dermis, the likelihood of a cure is still strong. For melanoma to be incurable, the cancerous cells must spread beyond the skin and into the lymph nodes where there is contact with the blood cells.
If the melanoma is too far advanced, a patient can live up to 5 years with the skin condition. Melanoma is the most rapidly spreading cancer on the body and can reach other organs much quicker than other cancers.
MOLE MAPPING OR SELF MOLE CHECKS – WHICH DO YOU NEED?
Self mole checks are one of the most important activities you can do to help look after your skin. Checking your moles is easy, you just need to know the ABCDEs. Once you know about asymmetry, borders, colours, diameter and evolution, make sure you take a hand mirror and check your whole body by using the mirror to see in places your eyes can’t, such as your back, armpits and under your thighs. If you identify anything suspicious that conforms to the ABCDE test, you’ll need to visit a dermatologist immediately.
Once you visit your dermatologist, they will likely view your moles and provide a mole mapping service. The mole map takes a photo of your entire body and maps your moles per the ABCDE test. This helps you to maintain your moles and you can schedule regular checkups that will match your moles to your previous mole map to check for any changes in your moles that might need further investigation. It is often better to receive a mole map from a dermatologist as naturally, their experience will help them to identify anything potentially harmful that the untrained eye cannot see.
HOW MOLE MAPPING CLINICS EFFECTIVELY MAP YOUR MOLES
With the average adult having up to 40 moles it can be hard to keep track of which moles on your body are old or new and whether or not they have changed over time. This is why mole mapping is an extremely important part of the mole checking process.
Mole mapping helps to identify skin cancer that requires treatment and contributes to the 87% survival rate in the UK if the skin cancer is treated early enough. You should also check all of your moles, and not just one in isolation. Often, this is a common misconception as over 70% of skin cancer develops from a new mole and not an old mole. This is why the photography-record-check process works well to track and manage the development of your moles over time.
Often, dermatologists will combine mole mapping with dermoscopy to provide full coverage of the skin and mole checks. This is a non-invasive skin procedure that takes a deeper look into the skin cell structure through a microscope to ensure that everything is correct and nothing malicious is happening on a deeper level.
In this instance, mole mapping and dermoscopy can be extremely effective in helping to identify melanoma skin cancer early enough to treat by a dermatologist.
DO YOU NEED MOLE MAPPING OR ANOTHER MOLE CHECKING SERVICE?
Mole mapping is simply one important check of a full-service mole checking package. As already identified, dermoscopy is also a mole checking service provided by dermatologists to help check your moles.
The full body mole check includes a dermoscopy through your dermatology clinic. Your consultant dermatologist is likely to check your moles individually with a dermoscopic lens to look for any inconsistencies in moles, dark and dangerous skin cells in the centre of your moles and also evaluate your moles per the ABCDEs test.
You’ll also be asked a few questions by your dermatologist such as when you noticed the mole or when you noticed your mole(s) change. Further questions on exposure to sun etc. might be asked but are not necessarily relative. This will be at the dermatologist’s discretion.
These are two core services to the mole checking services provided by experienced dermatologists. Mole mapping is an ongoing process that needs to be managed throughout your life. Monitoring the development of your moles, especially as you grow into your 30s is key to ensuring ultimate skin safety.
VISITING A DERMATOLOGIST FOR MOLE CHECKING AND MOLE MAPPING
Your moles should be checked every few months at a minimum. Regular self mole checking can be the key to identifying melanoma early enough to treat it. Remember, there is a very high survival rate, so do not leave it too late to visit a dermatologist.
If you’re concerned about your moles, please visit our mole checking services page and book a consultation online or contact us to talk to one of our experts today. For more information on your skin, moles and melanoma, visit our dermatology insights.
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.
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