Now this isn’t sponsored and I wasn’t asked to write this post. But a few weeks ago I discovered MoleMap and knew I had to get one done. Well I thought about it for a few days as it wouldn’t be cheap. In fact the cost sounds like a lot of money (because it is at $449). But once I thought about how much I’ve spent at the dentist or on ultrasounds or every time we visit the paediatrician then having a once a year check for that price and peace of mind reassured me that I should try it for my annual skin check.
Melanoma is always on my mind because my mum lost her life to it. We didn’t know how deadly it was until it affected our mum and unfortunately it was misdiagnosed twice by her GP at skin checks. So as much as I love my family Dr (and we’ve got a wonderful one where we live) I do go to a clinic or dermatologist for my own skin cancer checks and so does the rest of my family.
So today I had my MoleMap done and it was honestly the most thorough and in depth skin check I’ve ever had. I’ve actually been getting my skin checked at a skin cancer clinic on the northern beaches since my mid 20’s before I knew that my mum would get melanoma. And my risk factors are quite high having family history, lots of moles, a couple of bad sunburns and fair skin. The reason I found MoleMap is that since I’ve moved I found a new skin cancer clinic but I found my last skin check in February to be a bit brief. He was very quick and didn’t take any photos whereas at my last clinic they would compare a few moles on my arms and chest to the photos they had on file. So I was on the lookout for something more in depth where they would take photos of my moles for comparison next time.
How MoleMap works is that they take photos of your entire body in a number of poses. This was the bit I was least looking forward to as I’m carrying a bit of extra weight at the moment. You have to strip down to just your undies, you do have a gown for a bit of decency before and after the photos, and they put a few stamps all over your body which are like reference points for later. The photos don’t take too long and there were some interesting ones with a knee bent and legs apart and one finger resting on my back and then head down with arms crossed to get a good one of the shoulders and so on.
After that was done you sit down (thankfully with the gown on!) and it’s time for the skin check. The nurse started with my hands and arms and any moles (they call them lesions) that meet the criteria to be photographed will be photographed with a different camera. Two photos are taken, one with the naked eye and one up close. I have a lot of moles so by the end of the whole body skin check we were at over 65 moles that had been photographed (so that’s over 130 photos of those moles/lesions) and will be sent to the dermatologist for review. I have more than 65 moles all up but these were the ones that might have been a bit too dark, had uneven edges and so on. Now that doesn’t mean I have 65 dodgy moles that I really need to worry about. Some of them to me looked like tiny freckles but they were generally too dark, edges were uneven or they met other criteria.
As the photos are taken they are added to the particular location on the first photos that were taken of your whole body. So it’s very accurate and if there is anything suspicious about that spot they’ll be able to identify exactly where it is on the photo of your arm/leg etc. It also means when I go back for my annual review they’ll be able to note any new moles/lesions.
The whole process should take 60 minutes but I had quite a lot of moles to be checked so I came in at 90 minutes all up. A report will be sent to me once the dermatologist has looked at my photos and I also have access to my photos if I need to compare any changes or if anything worries me over the next 12 months.
Verdict? I was so happy with how it went. The nurse was so sweet and nice and I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. Which is saying something because I’m not a fan of wearing swimmers let alone undies for a series of photographs! I have a great sense of peace of mind that I’m doing the best for my skin checks and of all the skin checks I’ve had over the years I’m so happy that I’ve found something that has photographed every bit of my skin. If I need a spot check done in the next 12 months I can have that done at no cost and I’ll definitely be going back in 12 months for another full body check.
So I recommend MoleMap to anyone who feels they need to have a thorough check or has the risk factors like I do. Plus the city location meant I got a chance to go to kinokuniya and one of my favourite japanese places for lunch.