When a patient is diagnosed with a melanoma there is a 12% chance that they will develop a second primary melanoma somewhere else on their skin not associated with the first melanoma. It is vital to have a comprehensive surveillance program for these melanoma patients to monitor for new primaries.
Dr Sally Shaw, skin cancer expert at Peninsula Skin Cancer Centre, says that the combination of Molemapping with Total Body photography is the gold standard for melanoma monitoring. “Patients diagnosed with melanoma are enrolled in our melanoma molemapping program to ensure we can detect any new melanomas at the earliest stage” said Dr Shaw.
“Our melanoma molemapping program combines Total Body Photography and Molemax Digital Imagery” said Dr Shaw. “The 23 body shots are high resolution photos taken of each area of the body, recording the existing moles on the patient’s skin, establishing a baseline for future reference. Then every mole is examined using hand held dermatoscopy, assessed for features seen in skin cancer and any mole that appears suspicious is imaged using Molemax technology. These images are highly magnified and are used to monitor for subtle changes within that mole over short term and long term monitoring.”
“When a new mole is detected on a patient over the age of 50 or an existing moles shows changes, then a biopsy is required to rule out melanoma and in most cases the subsequent melanoma was thinner than the first primary melanoma” she said. “Molemapping has ensured that 83% of the melanomas detected in our clinic are still insitu, it hasn’t penetrated through the epidermis and become invasive. Insitu melanomas have a survival rate of 96-10% over 5 years”.
More information on using Molemapping to monitor for melanoma can be found here.