Claro Skin Clinic

Screening Clinic

Mole scanning is a computerised method of analysing suspicious moles to assess the risk of skin cancer. In the past few years there have been some excellent advances that have led to new technology for screening patients with abnormal and atypical moles.

NI only private mole scanning clinic

Access to advanced digital mole scanning system

We save lives by detecting skin cancers early.

A small piece of your time for peace of mind

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02890 668 200

Screening Clinic

What will happen at my appointment?

We typically will book a 30 minute appointment with our specialist nurse who will examine your moles and scan any moles that need monitored.

You may be asked to undress so that we can examine all of your moles and then scan any suspicious moles to assess any potential risk for skin cancer. The combined examination using digital technology and clinical examination by an expert skin specialist ensures that we provide the highest possible standards of care.

We can usually remove any abnormal moles on the same day of your appointment if this is necessary. Additional surgery may be necessary if the mole is shown to be a skin cancer. All of our team link into the regional skin cancer multidisciplinary team.

We recommend screening for anyone with multiple pigmented moles and especially those with a family history or a personal history of melanoma. The interval of screening varies according to the overall appearance of your moles. Individuals with unstable or multiple irregular moles may need a 6 monthly review. We recommend annual screening for most individuals and can place you on a recall system.

What is mole scanning?

Mole scanning is a technique whereby a person's moles are catalogued or mapped. The images created can be used as part of a person's skin cancer surveillance programme.

The mole scanner is able to look at deeper structures in the skin than that with a naked eye to detect early skin cancers before they become visible with the naked eye.

Mole Cancer

What is the advantage in having my moles scanned with the mole scanner than just using digital photography?

To detect subtle changes in moles they need to be photographed in a standardised way by an individual who has skills in photography usually a medical photographer. The images are relatively easy to take and if the patient is given a copy of the images they can monitor changes at home. However it can be difficult to detect subtle changes in moles.

The images are not as detailed as the mole scanner. A partner is required to monitor the back which is the most common site for melanoma in men.

The mole scanner uses technology whereby it can look deeper into the skin to detect subtle changes in moles before the changes become visible to the naked eye and so can detect skin cancers earlier than conventional photographic monitoring. Combined with the expertise and skills of a trained dermatology nurse and a dermatology consultant your moles can be mapped and any suspicious lesions can be dealt with fairly promptly. The mole scanner takes the most detailed image of your mole.

The software can help to detect new or changing moles. Follow up with the same system is advisable.

How frequently do I need to have my moles checked?

There is no consensus opinion about the recommended frequency for self surveillance of your moles. In general, for high risk individuals self surveillance should be undertaken at least 3 monthly or preferable monthly. For people who have few risk factors for melanoma a less frequent program of self surveillance could be adopted.

Am I at risk of melanoma?

The risk of melanoma is associated with both personal characteristics and genetic influences. You are at more risk of melanoma if:

1. You have a large number of unusual looking moles
2. You are very fair skinned
3. You have blue or green eyes
4. You have a tendency to burn rather than suntan
5. You have had a lot of sun exposure over your lifetime
6. You recall many sun burn episodes as a child
7. You have a family member who has had melanoma
8. You have had a melanoma in the past
9. You have had a non-melanoma skin cancer in the past

What changes should I look out for?

If you have a lot of moles you should become familiar with how they look normally and also you must know these four very important warning signs that something may be wrong.

It is as easy as ABCD!

A - Asymmetry- Healthy moles are usually round. If one half does not match the other half in colour, thickness or size this mole may need assessed.

B - Border irregularity-The moles border should be smooth, not rough ragged, scalloped or otherwise poorly defined.

C-Colour-Moles come in many colours but should have even colour throughout. If you see various shades of brown, tan or black or if you see red white or blue this mole needs assessed

D-Diameter-Melanomas are usually bigger than 6mm in diameter about the size of a pencil rubber. They can be caught earlier and at smaller sizes so pay attention to any changing mole. If you catch them smaller your chances of survival increases

Also if you notice a changing mole or one that looks very different to your other moles, itching, bleeding or you just have an uneasy feeling about it please get your mole assessed.

How common is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and is on the increase. Fortunately if found early, most cases are completely curable and very few skin cancers turn out to be serious. However it is very important to recognise the early signs and to seek medical advice if you are concerned.

1 in 10 people in the UK will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime.

The number of cases of skin cancer in Northern Ireland has trebled over the last 25 years

Cancer Research UK said the rates of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer had risen by almost a third among those aged 50-59.

Every week in Northern Ireland one person in this age group is diagnosed with the disease-making it the sixth most common skin cancer among the over 50s.

Melanoma is the rarest and most serious form of skin cancer. It accounts for about one in 10 new cases of skin cancer, but for three quarters of deaths from the disease. However, it is curable if treated early enough.

The rate for melanoma is higher in women but more men die from the disease due to late detection.

In 2009 malignant melanoma alone caused 45 deaths in Northern Ireland and left hundreds of people requiring surgery.