What is mole mapping, and why is it important for you?
Skin cancer, is one of the most common forms of cancer today, and we are in a country with one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. Now this shouldn’t be very surprising, as most Australians love the outdoors – be it for sports, travel or leisure. It can strike anyone, though we have seen that the risk factors increase for people as they age, and more so, if they spend more time in the sun.Talking about which, while a certain level of sun exposure is good, it is the strong UV radiation in sunlight that is a leading cause of skin cancer in Australia.
Amongst the different types of skin cancer, melanoma is the most risky type, as it can start off as a seemingly innocent mole, but can turn out to be malignant, and can spread all across the body if not treated in time.
So, are all moles dangerous?
No, they aren’t. Moles are so common that we often don’t give them a second thought. Moles typically appear in our early years, and there is a statistic that says that Australian kids have an average of 50 moles or more, by the time they turn 15. Regular moles range from 1mm to 10mm in size, are uniform in shape and have an even colour and tone. Unlike regular moles, which are harmless, melanoma is indicated by moles that change shape, size and colour over a period of time. But it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between a regular mole, and a cancerous one. If you spot a new mole after the age of 25, or if you see your moles change their form, size or colour, it is best to consult a doctor to get it investigated at the earliest.
Mole mapping is an easy, non-invasive and painless way to keep a track of your moles, and to check for cancerous moles, before it is too late. In this procedure, our dermatologists check and document every single mole on your body, over a period of time, to identify any possible risks of skin cancer. Using a combination of whole-body photography, digital dermatoscope, anin-depth skin examination and advanced mole mapping software, we map all the moles on your body, and store the images on a secure encrypted server, to protect your privacy. We then compare these images to those taken on subsequent visits, which can help us point out suspicious moles, and decide on the next course of action – biopsy, removal or further examination.
Do you need mole-mapping?
If you have too many moles that you can’t track yourself, or if you are sunburnt or freckled or tanned, it would be a good idea to get yourself examined. And if you happen to be based in Melbourne, you will likely be exposed to higher UV radiation, which can make you a prospect for melanoma. It is anyway a good idea to get mapped for skin cancer, given that our lifestyle makes us more prone to health afflictions like these. As they say, prevention is better than cure. And in this case, early detection can help with prevention.
Mole mapping is actually a wonderful, preventative procedure can save your life! And at Mannigham Skin Cancer Clinic in Melbourne, we take care to do a thorough examination right from your scalp to your face, neck, torso, front, back, arms and legs, and even under your fingernails, to ensure that we don’t miss mapping out even the uncommon areas where melanoma can develop.