The process of examining suspicious moles actually begins with you, at home, when you conduct a regular skin cancer self-checks. By doing this preparatory work, you can talk to your skin cancer doctor and tell them if any particular moles are concerning to you. They can then examine them and provide you with a medical opinion. Another way of examining moles is to use mole mapping, which involves taking photos of your moles over time and comparing these images to identify any changes. Your skin cancer doctor will also offer a professional skin cancer check in which they examine your body with a dermascope to get a good look at any skin lesions that could be a problem. Read on to find out more.
Skin Cancer Self-Check
Regular skin cancer self-checks are an essential part of staying vigilant against suspicious moles and the development of skin cancer. The acronym ABCDE can be used as a guide for looking at all areas of your body at home. The acronym is as follows:
A – asymmetry
B – border
C – colour
D – diameter
E – evolving
This means that suspicious moles are often asymmetrical, may have a ragged or uneven border, feature unusual or changing colours, and may change in appearance over time, sometimes growing larger. The reason why a skin cancer self-check is relevant to how a skin cancer doctor examines suspicious moles is that it can allow you to give them a heads-up on any moles you have already found that look out of the ordinary. Also, during a check with a skin cancer doctor, usually you will keep your undergarments on, but if you’ve found a suspicious mole in the genital region, that will need to be checked.
Full body photography, otherwise known as mole mapping, is the act of recording the body surface and the locations of moles on the body. Mole mapping can help a skin cancer doctor by offering different records of your moles at varying points in time so any changes are easily spotted. It’s the easiest way of keeping tabs on the development of any moles you have and any new ones that arise. During a mole mapping session, a skin cancer doctor will ask you to strip down to your undergarments, and then a number of photos will be taken of your body, which will completely cover the area of your skin. The software used in this process not only captures photos and stores them for future benefit, but it also features inbuilt tools for the diagnosis of precancerous moles as well as skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Check
A skin cancer check is conducted by a skin cancer doctor, and that person could be your regular GP, a doctor at a skin cancer clinic, or a dermatologist. Your skin cancer check will usually be quite quick, especially if you’ve never had an incidence of skin cancer or a suspicious mole in the past. Again, you will need to strip down to your undergarments and wear a medical gown. You will only need to remove undergarments if you have a lesion on your genitalia that requires medical attention. Your skin cancer doctor will then take a good look at the surface of your entire body, looking for any suspicious lesions. They will include areas that are hard to look at on your own body, such as your scalp, back, buttocks, behind the ears, and between your toes. It is usual for your skin cancer doctor to use a dermascope which magnifies the surface of the skin so that it’s more apparent if there’s skin cancer present in a mole. A skin cancer check is one of the main interventions used by a skin cancer doctor for examining and identifying suspicious moles.