The difference between mole mapping services and seeing a Consultant Dermatologist?

mole mapping

After Sarah Ferguson recently revealed her melanoma diagnosis, there has been a surge in online queries relating to skin cancer. Sometimes, people are not sure what the difference is between mole mapping services and seeing a consultant dermatologist.

In light of National Cancer Prevention Month, in today’s blog we’re going to explore the differences between these two services. Each has its unique features and benefits, and knowing the difference can help you make an informed decision about your skin health.

What is Mole Mapping?

Mole mapping involves photographing all your moles to track changes over time. This service, often offered by specialised clinics, uses high-resolution imaging to capture detailed pictures of the moles. Some systems even incorporate AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms to analyse these images and identify any changes or irregularities that might suggest a risk of skin cancer.

The primary benefit of mole mapping is its ability to document and monitor changes in moles across the entire body. This is particularly useful for those with many moles, as it creates a comprehensive record that can be referenced in future screenings.

However, it’s important to note that while mole mapping provides a thorough record of your moles, it typically does not include a personal assessment by an experienced skincare professional.

When should I see a Consultant Dermatologist?

In contrast to mole mapping services, a consultant dermatologist offers a more personalised and clinical approach. During the consultation, a dermatologist will first take a detailed clinical history to assess your background risk of skin cancer. This includes discussing factors such as family history, sun exposure, and previous skin conditions.

A thorough examination is then carried out on all your moles, paying particular attention to any that appear irregular. Using a dermatoscope, a tool that provides a magnified view of the skin, the moles can be closely inspected for signs of malignancy that may not be visible to the naked eye.

If any moles require monitoring, they will be photographed with and without the dermatoscope for precise documentation.

For patients with numerous moles or those who wish to undergo regular check-ups, comprehensive photographs of all areas of their skin can be photographed. This individualised approach ensures that each mole is evaluated in the context of your overall skin health and personal risk factors.

Why mole monitoring is important

Regular mole monitoring is a key component in the early detection of skin cancers, including melanoma. Catching it early significantly improves the chances of successful treatment. While mole mapping provides a valuable photographic record, seeing a consultant dermatologist offers the added benefit of expert clinical evaluation.

If you have any concerns about your moles, schedule an appointment with Dr Juliet Williams. As a specialist, she can provide a detailed assessment of your moles, considering your unique skin history and risk factors. This personalised approach ensures that any suspicious changes are quickly identified and addressed, offering you peace of mind and the best possible care for your skin.