What type of skin or mole check should I have?
Full body skin check? Just one or two spots of concern? Full body photography / mole mapping? Many new patients are uncertain about what type of appointment they should book.
Full body skin cancer check
Recommended once per year for
- Most white people living in Australia aged 40 or over
- People with a family history of melanoma
- People with more than 100 moles
- People with immune system disorders or taking medications that increase skin cancer risk
- People with a history of any type of skin cancer, dysplastic mole or solar keratoses
- People who have ever used a solarium, especially if aged below 25 at first use
- People with very fair skin that always burns and rarely tans
If you don't fit into one of these risk groups, most experts recommend that checking your own skin regularly is adequate. However, if you don't routinely check your own skin, you may wish to have a skin check performed by an experienced doctor or nurse every 1-2 years.
Mole mapping (total body photography)
Many people like to have a photographic record of where all their moles and other spots are located. This can assist in future: if a suspicous spot is identified, the baseline body photographs can help determine whether the spot is new, changing, or pre-exsting. There are no firm guidelines as to how often these photographs need to be repeated in order to assist eary diagnosis of skin cancers. Weoften recommend repeating them every 3-4 years.
Yearly mole mapping is recommended for people with many moles or other spots covering their entire body, particularly if there are other risk factors for melanoma.
Single / selected spot check
Recommended if you have had a recent full body skin check and are concerned about a new, changing or "ugly duckling" spot.
If you have never had a full body skin check and are only concerned about one or two spots, you should bear in mind that approximately 50 per cent of melanomas are discovered by a doctor or nurse at a skin check, without the patient having been previously aware.