Mole Mapping – Total Body Photography is the gold standard when it comes to melanoma monitoring in patients who’ve had an occurrence of melanoma or who have a multitude of moles.
There is a 10% or more chance that individuals with melanoma will develop new melanoma primaries; thus if you have been diagnosed with melanoma, you need to be monitored regularly for these new manifestations of melanoma. For this reason, mole mapping is ideal to identify all moles on the body. Having a visual record allows for comparison between moles as they exist now and how they will change in the future as well as the identification of new moles, each instance being a sign of melanoma.
An initial mapping and recording of the entire skin is done to locate and identify all moles present. Then on subsequent visits to the dermatologist, this visual record is referred to and known moles are compared for growth and abnormality. This record also allows for new moles to be quickly identified.
The variety of individuals can benefit from Mole Mapping including those who have:
• A mole that is as large as or larger than a nickel on their body
• An “atypical” mole that is uneven in shape and varies in color
• More than 50 moles on their body
• Anyone with fair skin & light colored eyes
• Family or personal history of melanoma
• History of severe sunburns
• New and/or changing moles occurring
• Anyone of ANY RACE taking immunosuppression drugs, with post-organ transplant, or anyone of ANY RACE with a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy, HIV, or any other reason.
An average of 20-25 digital photographs are taken, encompassing the entire surface area of the skin. The doctor will then identify any suspicious moles and mark them for further monitoring. Those moles are subjected to a microscopic photograph. This data is stored by your doctor and then referred to on subsequent visits typically at 6 to 12 month intervals. By comparing “then and now” images, your doctor can accurately track progression of existing moles and the emergence of new ones.