Caring for your skin is something that you might not have paid too much attention to in life thus far. We can take the health of our skin for granted until something goes wrong and we find some kind of problem. There are some precautionary steps you can take to monitor the health of your skin and pick up on any problems before they get more serious. One of these steps is called mole mapping.
You might have heard of mole mapping, but how much do you actually know about the process, what it’s for and what you can expect from it? If the answer to that question is ‘not much’, the information that you’ll find below will teach you more, so read on now
What is Mole Mapping?
So, first of all, we’ll look at what mole mapping actually is. It’s a procedure that is completely non-invasive and painless. The purpose of it is to track and record the moles on your body. By mapping them out, where they are, what they look like and how they’re changing, your medical team can assess their health. If they notice a problem, action can be taken early on before it becomes even worse. The process is over relatively quickly, and you won’t feel any pain or discomfort during the time it’s being carried out.
As an individual with no real knowledge of dermatology or skin health, you can’t track the health of your moles by yourself. Only with the right expertise, technology and analysis can you be sure that your skin is being looked after properly. It’s not uncommon to find a new mole or some extra freckles. But if you don’t know anything about skin care, you won’t know what these changes mean or how they should be monitored. Mole mapping offers you the solution to this kind of problem.
What Does the Process Involve?
The process that is gone through when you have a mole mapping procedure carried out can seem pretty complicated and hard to understand to novices. But there are some simple points that you should be aware of before you get these procedures carried out on you. First of all, the procedure takes about an hour from start to finish. You will usually be asked a few questions about your moles before the procedure begins. Photographs of the moles on your skin will then be taken and stored on your record for future reference.
The consultant carrying out the procedure will assess the entirety of your skin to find any moles that you’re not aware of. They will all be photographed using Mole Max technology. The images will then be evaluated and you will be given recommendations on further actions depending on what your consultant finds. Their expert knowledge and advice will help you ensure that you get any treatment you need. Or they might just tell you that everything is fine and that no action needs to be taken at the current time.
What Happens After the Mole Mapping Process?
If you were referred to a mole mapping specialist by your GP, a report would be prepared and sent back to them. That means that they can be kept in the loop with regards to what’s happening with your health. If something is found, they might then need to refer you to another specialist where a mole can be removed. Mole removal or other skin treatments will need to be carried out by other specialists. These kinds of procedures are completely different to mole mapping and require people with different expertise.
A copy of the findings will probably be given to you as well. This will allow you to know what you need to do in the future. Patient education is often a part of the mole mapping service you get. When you know more and understand how to prevent things like skin cancer, you can take the initiative more. Finally, you might be given a time when you can come back for your next appointment. These procedures are usually carried out repeatedly to ensure that any changes to the moles on your skin can be identified and assessed.
What Are the Benefits of Having This Done?
Now that you know more about mole mapping and what the procedure involves, you need to think about whether it’s right for you. The main benefit of having mole mapping procedures carried out is that they allow you to have problems with your moles picked up more rapidly. That means that if there is an early sign of skin cancer that you wouldn’t have noticed alone, action can be taken. When cancers are picked up early, they are much easier to treat and deal with by the medical professionals involved.
If you don’t have problems with your moles addressed until the problem is already advanced, you will be at a higher risk of experiencing more complications. You can get peace of mind from having this procedure carried out repeatedly over a series of years. That’s something that is invaluable to most people. It can also prevent moles being removed if they don’t need to be. The people who assess your moles will be experts, and they’ll know exactly when to, and when not to, rule that one of your moles needs to be removed.
Should Everyone Do It?
So, should everyone out there have a mole mapping procedure carried out on them? Well, there are certain groups of people who can benefit most from these kinds of procedures. For example, people for whom skin cancer runs in the family can definitely benefit. Those people will be more genetically inclined to develop skin cancer, which can present itself through mole changes. So, having these mapped and assessed over a number of years can be a really good idea. Problems can then be seen rapidly and treated before they advance.
People who have weakened immune systems or have spent a lot of their days out in the sun can also be more at risk. The risk of developing skin cancer also increases as you get older. All of these things make a difference. But mole mapping can be carried out on anyone. You don’t have to be at particular risk of skin cancer to want to look after your skin and monitor your moles. Some people just like to be on top of these risks and manage them before a problem arises.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Mole Mapping to be Aware Of?
There are no real disadvantages to the procedure itself. You can’t be harmed by having a mole mapping procedure carried out. It’s non-invasive, so there will be no risk to your health during the procedure itself. But, of course, there are flaws and mistakes can be made when moles are being assessed. So, the only thing to be aware of is that mole mapping is not 100% fool-proof. Sometimes, it’s hard even for experts to tell whether a mole is healthy or unhealthy. This is something that they can more reliably assess after a series of procedures over a long period of time.
Sometimes, moles can change rapidly and become problematic for your health out of nowhere. So, if you only have the mole mapping procedure carried out once a year, something could be missed through no fault of your own. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the procedures done, but be aware of these things. The only other thing to know is that some people find the procedure embarrassing because it involved getting naked and letting someone assess every inch of your body.