My mole map experience
Around 250 New Zealanders die from melanoma each year, BUT many more are successfully treated.
However the long term success of treatment greatly depends on early diagnosis.
Today I had a full mole map appointment at the Carefirst Medical centre in New Plymouth. I was absolutely blown away with the technology available to us today, but I couldn’t help but think how many of us actually take full advantage of it?
Prior to my appointment I was asked to
- Remove all polish from my toe nails and finger nails
- Arrive with no make up, or fake tan products
- Check for moles on scalp, buttocks & genitals – As these areas are not routinely checked in your mole map. However if you find any moles you would like to be checked in these areas, you are asked to advise your mole map technician.
We began the appointment with some questions on family history, sun exposure history and reason for the visit today.
I explained that unfortunately I had exposed my skin to sun beds as a teenager, and had some pretty decent sun burns as a typical out door-active youth growing up in the Naki. Thankfully my father and mother have only had BCC’s (Basal cell carcinoma – More about this and other skin lesions in an up and coming blog) but nothing more serious.
After we finished documenting the answers to the questions, I was asked to undress down to my underwear (ekkk this is the part I know a lot of you will be breaking out in a cold sweat about. If I was to tell you I wasn’t nervous at all, I would be lying), BUT I keep telling myself its just like what I do for a living, and she isn’t looking at the extra serving of plum duff & Christmas pavlova I was carrying … she is more concerned with my moles, and this did make me feel a little better.
I was then analysed from top to toe, and any moles of concern were circled with a white chalk pencil.
My hair line, under arms, in-between each finger & toe, palms and soles were checked also.
Then each mole was recorded via two photo’s and matched against the area of my body in which it is located.
The first camera was just a digital picture, like a naked eye view, this was then linked to a digital body part in the computer system (very effective recording system I thought).
The second camera… WAS AMAZING. This camera took a incredibly detailed close up picture of the mole or lesion in question. I could see the tiny blood vessels in my skin linking up to the moles, also the amazing pigmentation that my skin and the moles were made up of.
These photos will be checked by a Naevus specialist, and a full report on each mole will be sent to me. I will also be contacted if any moles need to be removed. I will write a quick blog about the results and how they come back to me.
In total, the appointment took 60 minutes & cost $225.00. In my opinion, it was money and time well spent. I found the mole map extremely thorough, professional and quite comfortable (once you got into it).
I left my appointment feeling thankful and happy to myself for having the peace of mind that a professional will take the time to look at my moles and make sure everything is healthy.
It is so easy to tell yourself things like
“ Im too young for anything to not be right”, “nothing has changed”, or “I’ll get it checked one day”.
But the reality is there is nothing better than peace of mind, and that old saying “it’s better to be safe than sorry” springs to mind… and heres another one for you “there is no time like the present”. Speaking of ‘present’ I have booked my husband in for a full mole map, and think I will give this as a gift to my loved ones for their birthday this year.
I fully recommend everyone to have their moles checked at least once, then depending on your own unique results, either every year, or two years. I was told that after your first assessment, every appointment after that is a lot cheaper, I will find out the price for you.
I urge anyone to have a complete mole check especially if
- You have had a direct family member who has had a melanoma eg mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent.
- If you have had significant sun exposure or sun beds (especially when young)
- If you have fair skin that burns easily (red hair, light coloured eyes or hair)
- Large number of moles (over 100)
- Abnormal moles (usually 5 or more)
To Book a mole map appointment
Call Carefirst medical centre
99 Tukapa Street, Westown New Plymouth 4310
Information about the Naevus mole map system:
“Naevus is a unique service for skin cancer detection using advanced computer technology and high definition digital photography screening (Digital Dermoscopy) that provides you with immediate results”.
“Digital Dermoscopy is a new and exciting technology. It is a research based approach to early detection of melanoma. It involves the use of digital technology along with a to provide a vastly magnified view of structural changes within moles and other skin lesions at a stage long before that visible to the naked eye. This greatly increases the accuracy of the early diagnosis of melanoma and skin cancer”.
“The system used is ‘Fotofinder Dermoscope’ that has been developed by the Dermatology Department of the University of Tuebingen in Germany. The system has a diagnostic sensitivity of 96% and Diagnostic specificity of 93%”.
Information sourced from http://naevus.co.nz/