The Importance of Mole Mapping
What is Mole Mapping?
Mole Mapping is when a skin specialist photographs or maps the moles on your skin. Then, over week, months, or years, the clinic will compare any changes to what he or she mapped the first time in aim to spot melanoma at its early stage if present. If you are worried about skin cancer, or have any other concerns, consult your doctor.
Who should consider having their moles mapped?
People who are at increased risk of melanoma should consider having their moles mapped. This includes anyone with:
- Large number of moles (more than 50).
- Moles that are large, or have an unusual colour or shape.
- Previous history of melanoma.
- A strong family history of melanoma.
- Pale skin that burns easily in the sun.
- Episodes of previous severe sunburn.
- A lot of sun exposure, including outdoor workers and people who take regular sun holidays.
- A suppressed immune system.
- Moles on the back, which may be difficult to keep an eye on.
- Any recent changes to individual moles.
How is Mole Mapping done?
Your skin specialist will:
- Mark spots on a cartoon drawing of you to show where any unusual marks are.
- Take photographs or digital images of the skin all over your body and save them for comparison on your next mapping appointment.
- Use a special hand-held microscope called a dermascope to look very closely at your skin.
- Decide if there are any signs of melanoma.
- Send a report to you or your GP.
The specialist will also follow up with you:
- 3 to 6 months later about any unusual marks that are not removed
- 1 to 2 years later for a check-up, or as your doctor recommends
If the specialist finds an unusual mark, he or she will remove it to have it examined. The consultant will then decide if more tests are needed.