Mole mapping is an innovative technique within dermatology that facilitates the early detection of skin tumours and the tracking of moles. It allows to observe the skin in a non-invasive way, through a dermatoscope- a lens associated with a special light, and to provide additional information about the characteristics of the lesions. The images taken by the dermatoscope can be registered in a computer such that it becomes easy to keep a track of the changes occurring in moles, ultimately leading to melanoma.
Melanoma is a skin cancer that quickly invades lymphatic and blood vessels and metastasizes. It is responsible for about 90% of deaths caused by malignant skin cancer. The incidence of skin cancer, melanoma and nonmelanoma, grows alarmingly. Compared with all other skin cancer types, the specific incidence of melanoma suffered the greatest increase in recent decades, especially in people with clear skin tone.
The early detection of melanoma is very important because if the lesion is thin, surgery is usually curative. The development of new imaging techniques such as dermatoscopy allows an advance in the early detection of skin cancer.
Advantages of mole mapping using dermatoscopy:
- It is a harmless, non-invasive, painless method.
- Allows the moles to be compared objectively in successive visits and detects changes in size, pigmentation, shape, etc.
- Detects the emergence of new moles.
- Avoid unnecessary surgeries. There are moles that clinically look bad but with mole checking procedure, it is seen that they are benign and that therefore it is not necessary to remove them.
- It allows to make a clinical diagnosis with greater precision. Mole mapping process makes the most superficial layer of the skin transparent and see the structures inside.
- It is able to distinguish skin tumours from other benign lesions such as seborrheic keratosis or angiomas. Sometimes the clinical diagnosis can be difficult but with the help of mole mapping, the diagnostic reliability is much higher.
Genetic screening and lunar maps:
In the early detection of melanoma, doctors use a system called genetic screening, through which they map the moles of the skin and thus facilitate the localization of possible malignant cells. In this way, the study of changes in colour, volume or size of the spots can be done with greater precision, so that also the detection of skin cancer becomes even more preventive.
This type of tests is usually performed in patients who already have a family history of skin cancer. Since they are genetically more prone to the appearance of cutaneous tumours and to the development of melanomas, the elaboration of these lunar maps allows to detect more quickly any change that the skin experiences between visits.
Self-exploration for better detection:
This is recommended by most experts. Progressively reviewing the state of your dermis is essential to detect the early appearance of dangerous spots for our health. Performing a self-examination of the dermis before and after prolonged exposure to the sun is essential so that none of these skin lesions goes unnoticed before our eyes.
To carry out a good revision of the skin, it is essential to use a mirror that allows reaching the epidermal areas of less visibility. The back, the buttocks, the inner part of the thighs and even the genitals should be studied carefully to verify that there are no new moles in these areas that are not very obvious.
If, through self-examination, previously undiscovered skin characteristics are observed, the scheduled visit with the dermatologist is more than obligatory. Among the symptoms of the dermis that may call our attention are the asymmetry, which occurs when the same mole presents a different half to the other, or the presence of irregular edges, which at first glance is hard to define and rough to the touch.
On the other hand, if we observe more than three colours in the same mole or check that the spot exceeds 5 millimetres in size, we must also make a visit to the dermatologist. This is the most appropriate way to check if we are really faced with lesions, in the same way that it is a very effective way to control how these spots evolve with respect to their size.
Remove moles and nevi by laser after mole mapping:
The vast majority of intradermal moles can be excised through the laser, although depending on the case, they can also be removed by surgical intervention. It should be treated in any case of benign moles or small warts that, when supposing an aesthetic problem for the patient, obtain the medical consent to undergo this type of treatment.
The laser penetrates the skin and progressively seals the blood vessels that nourish the mole. It is an aesthetic method that does not require anaesthesia or involves excessive pain for the individual, so in about 20 or 30 minutes the stain can be removed without major complications.