What is mole mapping?
Mole mapping is a non-invasive procedure where an individual’s moles are categorised or 'mapped' through dermoscopy. The images formed are then used for surveillance of skin for malignant melanoma (cancer).
How is the procedure performed?
Usually, mole mapping is carried out by photography or digital imaging of the whole body surface. This is recorded for future comparison to detect new lesions, or track the changes in existing lesions. At Mediclinic Al Sufouh, we use the FotoFinder dermoscopy device, which is one of the most advanced mole mapping devices available worldwide.
What are the benefits of mole mapping?
Mole mapping is mainly used for irregular moles or moles that are located in places that are difficult to be monitored by the patient.
Compared to self-examination of the skin, mole mapping creates a record that can be used to detect new lesions and monitor the changes of existing ones. The images obtained are magnified and saved, and any new changes in the moles may be cancerous and would be easily detected by an experienced dermatologist.
Early detection of melanomas, the most dangerous skin cancer, is key for cure and /or improving the chances for survival.
Mole mapping using digital photography can improve detection of early melanoma. A study has shown that the chance of detecting melanoma increased by 17% with digital dermoscopy. Total body photography has also been found to improve the detection of new or small melanomas, which did not fit the classical clinical profile of the disease.
Who should consider mole mapping?
Some people need be more careful when it comes to moles. If you have any of the following risk factors, you are a good candidate of mole mapping.
Common risk factors of melanoma:
- Having many moles
- Large or unusual moles
- Light skin, hair or eyes
- A personal or family history of skin cancer
If you have any of the above conditions, mole mapping is essential to better monitor your moles and help detect any skin cancer that may arise at the earliest curable stage.