The ever evolving field of medical technology, especially with regards to early cancer detection, is helping us get closer to the goal of reducing cancer mortality rate. One of these technologies helping us with early skin cancer detection, when the majority of cases are still completely curable, is called mole-mapping. Our dermatologist Dr Houtappel explains “One of the challenges with skin cancer is early detection. Many of us have moles or skin lesions, and although we may check them from time to time, we can’t accurately remember what their exact size, shape or colour was a few months ago, let alone a year ago. Fortunately with technological advances in high-resolution cameras we have found a great solution. It is quick, easy, and completely painless and can help detect cancerous moles that are evolving slowly enough that could go unnoticed.
Here are 5 reasons to get started with mole-mapping:
- Mole mapping keeps high-resolution images of your moles, and therefore new, changing or growing ones can be identified much earlier than by relying on your or your doctor’s memory.
- The computer-assisted camera flags suspicious moles, which can then be magnified to determine whether it looks cancerous.
- Mole-mapping can reduce the risk of unnecessarily removing a healthy mole, because the magnified camera and change tracking over time can help determine whether that mole is indeed healthy.
- If you move country, change doctors, or simply would like to check for yourself what your moles looked like at your last appointment, you will be given all the photos on a USB stick to take with you to your next dermatologist or mole mapping facility.
- Mole-mapping is completely painless and still ensures that your dermatologist can focus on moles that look suspicious.
How often do you need to get your moles checked?
We recommend once per year if no suspicious moles were identified at your last check. For suspicious moles, we advise you to get them checked after 3-6 months.
Is mole mapping for everyone?
Mole mapping is particularly suitable if you have an increased risk of skin cancer, defined as:
– Multiple moles (50 or more) or large moles
– Personal or family history of skin cancer
– Pale skin that burns easily in the sun
– History of severe sunburns or a lot of sun exposure
– A suppressed immune system
If you have questions about mole-mapping, or would like to book an appointment, please email our Polyclinic at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 070 306 5100 and select the option for the Polyclinic.