Mole checks are one of those things that we know we should do, but often put aside or ignore completely for many reasons. One reason is many people believe that there isn’t a need; another is that people don’t know how to.
But with 1 in 3 Australians estimated to have some form of skin cancer in their lifetime, mole checks are pretty important and shouldn’t be shunted to the end of our to-do lists.
So, how often should you get your moles checked?
There are two types of mole checks — one by a health professional such as your GP, the other by yourself at home. Both are important.
At home mole checks
As doctors, we recommend that you perform monthly at-home mole checks — at the very least, every three months.
Skin cancer can be quickly treated if it’s found early. So, checking your moles routinely can help in the discovery of the early signs of skin cancer.
How to perform an at-home mole check
1. Look for irregularities:
asymmetrical — your moles should be symmetrical and round
blurry edges — your moles should have definite edges
traces of blue, red or white
patches of scaly skin
2. Look for changes to:
surface (it is now raised?)
3. Check if you have any new moles.
4. Ask yourself the following questions:
Are any of my moles oozing or bleeding?
Are any of my moles sore, itchy or tender?
Are any of my moles larger than a pea?
If you struggle to see moles on your back or other areas of your body, enlist the help of a loved one.
During your mole check, if you notice any irregularities, changes, appearances of new moles, or if you answered yes to any of the questions, we recommenced that you go for a professional mole check.
Professional mole checks
A health professional, such as our doctors here at The Clinic, may spot signs of skin cancer that you may have missed.
We recommend that our patients come in yearly for a mole check. These yearly comprehensive mole checks assist in the early detection of skin cancer.
Here at The Clinic, we have a Skin Cancer Clinic that is home to a FotoFinder - a sophisticated piece of medical machinery that performs full body mole mapping.
Full body mole mapping
What is full body mole mapping? In summary, total body mole mapping scans your whole skin surface from your head to the bottom of your feet and then analyses all of your moles for the presence of skin cancer. For a thorough explanation, please read our article: what is full body mole mapping?
Full body mole mapping in thorough and quick (less than four minutes), and can compare previous results to current results to detect the appearance of new moles.
If you’d like to come to see us at our Skin Cancer Clinic for a mole check through full body mole mapping, please call us on 9741 1200. Or, book an appointment with one of our doctors through our website.