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What is Mole Mapping

Mole mapping 01, Essence Healthcare blog

What is Mole Mapping

For the early detection of skin abnormalities, mole mapping is an important tool, providing a comprehensive approach to assessing the condition of moles on the skin. The aim of mole mapping is to ensure that existing moles are not showing signs of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, and to detect skin cancer early in the case it is present. When treated early, the spread of skin cancer to other areas of the body can be prevented.

Mole mapping can be an essential part of regular healthcare, particularly for Australians who are often exposed to harsh UV rays. Read on to learn more about mole mapping, the types of skin cancers and how to protect your skin to prevent skin cancer in the future.

How mole mapping works

A step further from relying solely on visual examination during routine check-ups, mole mapping uses imaging tools for a detailed examination of the condition of moles. With regular mole mapping, the condition of moles can be closely monitored for any future changes that could indicate skin cancer.

Mole mapping works by focusing on each existing mole on the body and recognising the formation of any new moles during future appointments. It typically involves an initial assessment, visually examining the patient’s skin for existing moles, birthmarks, or other skin irregularities.

Then, high-resolution photography and advanced imaging is used to take detailed images of the skin. The images help to create a digital map of the patient’s skin, using technology to help identify changes in moles over time. To focus on individual moles more closely, a handheld device with magnification and light may be used for a more detailed assessment. Changes in the size, shape, colour or texture of moles are assessed closely.

Regular follow-up appointments are generally important to monitor the condition of the moles over time and spot any new skin irregularities.

The benefits of regular mole mapping

When left untreated, skin cancer, particularly melanoma, is a serious condition that can have severe consequences to general health. Some skin cancers can metastasise and spread to other areas of the body, making early detection quite critical for a successful treatment outcome.

Closely examining the skin for changes in the size, shape, colour or texture of existing moles and identifying any new skin irregularities is an essential part of detecting the presence of skin cancer. Mole mapping allows for detailed assessments, potentially catching changes that may go unnoticed during routine visual check-ups or self-examinations.

Regular mole mapping may reduce the need for frequent biopsies, allowing for more detailed and informed decision-making on which moles will require a biopsy. Limiting potentially unnecessary procedures can have a variety of benefits for the patient.

The main benefit of mole mapping is the early detection of skin cancer, which can lead to more effective and possibly less invasive treatment.

Having regular, detailed skin checks can also provide peace of mind, knowing that your skin is being regularly monitored for any changes. Any potentially harmful changes can be acted on promptly to prevent further complications.

What are the types of skin cancers?

Skin cancers occur in three main types, resulting from DNA mutations that cause abnormal cellular growth. The development of skin cancer can be influenced by UV rays and excessive sun exposure, genetics, family history, skin type, and smoking. Unfortunately, skin cancer is relatively common in Australia and affects various age groups, with one in three Australians being diagnosed with a type of skin cancer within their lifetime.

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers (NMSCs) include Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). BCC is a slow-growing form of skin cancer that is commonly found on the skin that is frequently exposed to the sun. It’s often effectively treatable with complete resolution. Also common on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, SCC is considered to be more aggressive than BCC, and may sometimes require specialised intervention.

The most serious form of skin cancer is Melanoma, which can grow rapidly and has the potential to spread around the body when not detected early enough. When treating melanoma, early detection is absolutely essential, making mole mapping a highly important procedure.

Skin cancers can present in various ways, including changes in moles, abnormal shapes, itching, bleeding, or non-healing scabs. Sometimes, it can be present without noticeable symptoms and requires a detailed assessment to be detected.

What are the skin cancer treatment options?

The options for treating skin cancer will depend on the type of skin cancer detected, the location of the skin cancer and the size. Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers (NMSCs) can sometimes be treated with cryotherapy, topical chemotherapy, radio ablation or shave removal, but may require surgical removal. Melanoma will always require surgical removal. If skin cancer is detected, you will talk through your options with a doctor or other licensed practitioner.

Protecting your skin against skin cancer

When it comes to skin cancer, prevention is always key, protecting your skin against excessive sun exposure. Wearing a sunscreen with high SPF is essential to protect sun-exposed areas. In Australia, you should be applying SPF daily, even when it doesn’t seem too sunny outside! UV rays can be harmful to the skin, even on cloudier days.

We recommend reducing sun exposure by staying in the shade in sunny conditions, wearing sunglasses and hats, and opting for long sleeves when possible if you will be out in the sun for an extended period of time.

Essence Healthcare Clinic: Mole mapping in Melbourne

Regular mole mapping is essential for managing skin health and detecting potential skin cancer early. Early detection allows for prompt treatment, which can lead to successful treatment outcomes.

Dr Lucas de Siqueira has been performing skin cancer checks and mole mapping for over 10 years, identifying and treating thousands of patients. Conducting skin checks on a daily basis at Essence Healthcare, he can perform a detailed assessment, ensuring that your skin is thoroughly assessed for any malignancies.

If it’s time for mole mapping, contact our team to book your appointment at our Maribyrnong, Melbourne clinic.