Skin Cancer, Skin Checks
There are many different types of skin cancer detection services on the market, which makes choosing the right option for your needs as difficult as ... well, detecting melanoma with an untrained eye. We’ve compiled a list of the four most important things to look for, so you can choose the service that’s right for you.
1. Specialist people
As with any health check, it’s important to choose specialists with indepth expertise in their chosen field – and detecting skin cancer is no exception!
Look for a professional service with highly trained technicians and experienced Dermatologists who specialise in skin cancer detection and diagnosis, especially melanoma. These specialists are not only experts in detecting early stage skin cancer, they’re checking skin day in and day out, so they know exactly what to look for.
Above: At MoleMap we use high-tech camera to take close-up images.
2. Specialist equipment
To the untrained eye, melanoma can look much like any other spot, so look for a provider that offers proven, state-of-the-art skin cancer detection technology. Ideally, they should use both a dermotoscope (a device that looks deep inside a mole’s structure to detect early signs of melanoma) and a high-tech camera to take close-up images of any moles of concern.
3. A long-term skin surveillance programme
Because your skin is always changing, this is perhaps the most important step in reducing your skin cancer risk. Look for a provider that offers an ongoing skin surveillance programme. This means a baseline record of your skin and moles is created at your first appointment, and used to track any changes in your skin or moles at follow-up appointments.
Far more effective than having a one-off, ‘point in time’ skin check, a long-term, skin-mapping system is designed to detect melanoma in its early stages, when it’s most treatable.
4. Free spot checks in between appointments
While in most cases, an annual skin cancer check is adequate, melanoma is extremely fast growing and can become life-threatening in as little as six weeks.1 So it’s a good idea to choose a skin cancer detection service that also offers free spot checks in between appointments, particularly if you have a high melanoma risk (take our risk quiz).
That way, if you have a mole or moles that concern you at any time between annual appointments, you can easily get them checked at no additional cost.
What about GP skin checks?
Many people ask their doctor to check their skin as part of their annual wellness check – and yes, this is definitely a great idea! But remember that GPs usually do a brief visual check within the confines of a 15-minute appointment. And because melanoma is very difficult to detect visually, even the most experienced GP can miss a mole that’s changing or growing.
So while it’s recommended that you see your GP in between professional checks, it shouldn’t take the place of booking a comprehensive full body check with skin cancer detection experts (such as MoleMap), every year.
Reference: 1. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/melanoma
Note: This quick questionnaire is designed to give you an idea of your personal skin cancer risk factors.
It isn’t intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis – please contact us if you have any questions about your skin cancer risk.
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