Clinical Mole Mapping
Every skin check involves a full check of all moles by our Doctor
This involves a fully body examination of your skin by the doctor, who uses an instrument called a dermatoscope. This instrument allows the doctor to see your moles at a higher magnification.
Mole Mapping and Full body Photography
What is Mole Mapping?
The term ‘mole mapping’ has been used in several different ways. However, it usually refers to a surveillance program for those at high risk of melanoma. It can consist of a clinical method or a single mole or full body photography method.
At Ministry of Skin Australia, a doctor always performs a clinical mole mapping. This involves a fully body examination of your skin by the doctor, who uses an instrument called a dermatoscope. This instrument allows the doctor to see your moles at a higher magnification. In the trained eyes of the doctors at the clinic this greatly increases the chances of picking up a suspicious skin lesion and also allows a higher reassurance for normal moles or lumps compared to looking at the skin without one.
Another form of mole mapping offered at Ministry of Skin is through photographic surveillance. This may be recommended if you have a lot of moles, moles that may look different to others or have a family history or personal history of skin cancers. For this method, photographs are taken of the whole body plus any worrying lesions. These are then stored on a special software program and can be reviewed at a later date to enable identification of any new skin lesions, or whether pre-existing skin lesions have grown or changed color or shape.
Advantages of Mole Mapping
Mole mapping is intended to diagnose melanoma at the earliest possible stage, by identifying new lesions or changes in pre-existing skin lesions.
Compared to self skin examination or an examination by a non-specialist doctor, mole mapping as described above has the following advantages:
- The previous record can be used to determine whether a lesion of concern is new or has changed.
- If the doctor determines that a lesion needs to be removed, this can be done at the earliest possible stage, reducing the risk of melanoma spread and minimising surgery.
- If a lesion is new or has changed, but does not reach the threshold for removal, it can be re-imaged and watched carefully.
Who is Suitable for Photographic Mole Mapping?
Mole mapping is particularly useful for individuals who have:
- Many moles (more than 50 to 100).
- Dysplastic or atypical nevi – ie moles that are large, unusual colours or shapes.
- Moles on the back, which may be difficult to keep an eye on.
- Previous history of melanoma.
- Strong family history of melanoma.
- Previous history of non melanoma skin cancers.
- Moles and fair skin that has been severely sunburned.
- Concerns about individual moles or freckles, e.g. because of their appearance or a recent change.
Mole mapping is most useful for pigmented moles – these are usually light to dark brown in colour. Accurate diagnosis depends on evaluation of the structure of the pigment.