Cancer Research UK recently published a report on the importance of early diagnosis in terms of survival rates. Mike Birtwistle of Incisive Health studied the impact that early diagnosis has in various forms of cancer and found that it is a major factor in why the UK has a much poorer cancer survival rate compared to other European countries such as Sweden.
The report focused on bowel, ovarian and lung cancers, but this is even more evident for skin cancer where the option of getting a worrisome mole or skin lesion checked out is relatively straightforward set against the treatment for skin cancer in its later stages.
Moles are very common and most people have between 30 to 40 moles and one in ten of us will have 100 or more. It can be very difficult to be aware of any changes to moles in terms of size, shape or colour or if we have developed a new one, particularly if it is on a hard-to-check place such as the back.
Here’s our top tips on how to perform a self-examination:
Tip # 1 Download a body map
This will help you keep track of any changes. During your first exam, note the date and then make a mark on the map of any freckles, moles, areas of discolouration or scaly patches. You can then write notes on size and colour. In the future, you can then check back to see if there have been any changes or any new skin lesions since the last examination.http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection/body-map
Tip # 2 Take a selfie
The prevalence of smart phones means it’s really easy to snap photos of any skin lesions, then store them on your computer for comparison at your next self-examination.
Tip # 3 Learn your ABCD
The ABCD rule is the one that every doctor uses when assessing moles, but it’s just important for you to be aware of it when performing a self-examination.
- A is for Asymmetry; if you split the mole into two halves, they wouldn’t look the same
- B is for Border; the mole’s edges are blurred, irregular or appear jagged
- C is for Colour; the mole is made up of more than one colour
- D is for Diameter; the mole is large and is wider than 6mm in diameter
When should I seek help with a suspicious mole?
If you are worried about any changes in the appearance of your skin then you should book a consultation for a mole check-up. At London’s Wimpole Aesthetics, Dr Joshua Berkowitz uses MoleMate, a non-invasive, painless device that can rapidly screen potential melanomas.
Dr Berkowitz is able to quickly scan the lesion and provide you with a diagnosis; whether all is fine or whether the mole should be removed and analysed. MoleMate uses innovative technology that scans blood cells, melanin and collagen up to 2mm under the skin and then uses that information to provide an assessment, based on a scoring system.
For more information on mole checks, mole removal or any of the skin care treatments we offer, call 020 7224 2247.