Mole Mapping at the Pigmented Lesion Clinic
The first steps in skin cancer prevention include skin self-examinations and detailed physical examinations by your health care provider. For patients at higher risk of skin cancer, these steps may not be enough. Patients who need the comprehensive services provided by the Pigmented Lesion Clinic are those with one of the following:
-a personal history of melanoma
-a family history of melanoma
-a personal history of dysplastic nevi (abnormal moles)
-more than 50 moles
Your initial appointment
An initial appointment at the Pigmented Lesion Clinic has four basic components.
A. Pigmented Lesion Specific Questionnaire
Patients are asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire that will help to identify risk factors and the need for genetic counseling. The information will be placed in the patient record and will be used at follow-up appointments. It will also be entered into a database for research and to help identify potential candidates for pigmented lesion clinical trials.
B. Dermatoscopic evaluation by a dermatologist
The dermatoscope is a newly developed device that allows the trained clinician to detect both skin cancer and any changes in the blood vessels underlying a lesion that can be suggestive of skin cancer. Dermatoscopic examination can limit the number of biopsies required.
C. Digital photographic mole mapping with dermatoscopic documentation of nevi
Mole mapping is used to help diagnose melanoma at the earliest possible stage by identifying new moles or any changes in pre-existing moles. High-resolution digital photographs are taken of all body regions and are stored in a secure database. The examination takes 30 to 45 minutes. Makeup and jewelry should not be worn.
Patients are asked to return for follow-up every three to six months. At this time the patient's stored images are used for comparison with the current examination. This allows for earlier detection of new lesions as well as any changes in previous lesions.
Patients should continue to perform self-examinations and are given a copy of the mole mapping evaluation on a CD for this purpose.
Patients will be counseled about the appropriate measures that they can take to protect their skin, how to perform a self-skin examination and educated about what a suspicious pigmented lesion may look like.
D. Other Disciplines that are part of the pigmented lesion clinic team
- Surgical Oncology
- Medical Oncology
- Human Genetics
Although dermoscopy and mole mapping are the standard of care in Europe and Australia, they are not covered by American insurance carriers. Patients will be billed for these services on the day of the visit.
Warning Signs of Melanoma