Mole mapping is an extremely helpful diagnostic technique used to help determine if a mole (growth) is potentially atypical or suspicious in need of further treatment. People who have an above average number of moles on their body (over 50) should have their physician regularly examine their body for changes to existing moles or potential new growths that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Types of Mole Mapping
A mole map may be as simple as a hand-drawn diagram marking each visible mark, growth, or lesion on the body. Another version of mole mapping uses digital photographs. As time goes on, the physician can review previous pictures and make note of any changes to the skin.
Advantages to Mole Mapping
- Previous records can be used to determine any changes of existing or new markings on the body.
- If changes are noted, proper treatment can take place hopefully at the earliest stage of the growth.
- A sense of reassurance for the physician and for patients at an increased risk for developing a skin cancer or atypical growth.
Disadvantages to Mole Mapping
- An incomplete mole mapping or the mapping is not done on every area of the body. The scalp is often forgotten during the examination.
- Some cancerous lesions at first examination appear normal and might be missed.
- Some forms of melanoma grow quickly and may be missed if mole mapping is the only diagnostic technique used.