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May 17, 2017 / molehunter

NEC Birmingham presentation on mole mapping with dermoscopy

This (link at foot of this post) is a PDF of a presentation I will be giving today at the NEC. It is an edited version of a presentation given at the British Association of Dermatologists’ dermoscopy course for trainees on 26th April. It is intended for delegates but may be of interest to other dermatology doctors. My sincere thanks to Professor Harald Kittler of the University of Vienna for the use of his excellent images.

The main point of this presentation is that people who have had a previous melanoma, have 100 or more moles, who have some atypical moles (atypical moles =naevi over 5mm diameter which are somewhat irregular in shape and colour but have no clear signs of melanoma) are at increased risk of getting a new melanoma, and that monitoring with photography has been shown by good published scientific studies to pick up their new melanomas at an early, therefore curable, stage. The risk is additive, so if you have 100 moles, several over 5mm and looking a bit odd, and have already had a melanoma-you really should be mole mapped and monitored. One of the studies I cite in the presentation showed that melanoma patients in Florence, Italy, who were monitored, when they developed new melanomas they were picked up earlier and were A THIRD OF THE THICKNESS (0.36mm versus 1.22mm) compared with non monitored people. This could literally be the difference between life and death.

In my opinion, based on the evidence I have seen, mole mapping and monitoring should be getting more attention that it currently is. In particular, I think there is a good case for low risk people (i.e. most white people with 40 or fewer moles) to self-monitor using their own tablet computer or similar device. It’s not complicated-just photograph your back, front, sides, arms, legs, head and neck and get a family member of friend to check you over against the photos every 3 months and report any significant change. Not as good as digital mole mapping and regular review with a dermatologist, in fact we don’t have much published evidence it works, but it’s common sense, harmless and affordable. As things are, only people with high risk factors for a melanoma can expect to be regularly monitored by a dermatologist-especially in the UK where we have far too few dermatologists.

Watch this space for further developments in the area of skin screening for melanoma!

 

NB the PDF contains several links to published data which may be useful.

Birmingham NEC registrars monitoring

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