Mole mapping uses a variety of hardware and software technologies for taking photos of the skin, storing these photos and analysing moles and other skin lesions captured in the photos. At Spot Check Clinic, we use simple hardware (an app on a mobile device) to reduce the cost of mole mapping and make it more accessible. All mole mapping photos are available to patients and we provide access via the MoleScope app which uses identical mole mapping technology. This means that if you wish, you can take your own mole mapping photos and view them yourself to perform your own skin examination and detect changes.
Getting your moles mapped involves taking detailed photographs of the moles on the skin, and comparing these photos over time to look for changes that may indicate the presence of skin cancer. There are multiple hardware and software technologies used for mole mapping.
Mole mapping hardware includes:
- specialised camera/computer combinations such as MoleMax and FotoFinder
- large all-in-one devices that the patient steps into, allowing the entire skin surface to be photographed all at once, e.g, Canfield Vectra
- conventional SLR cameras or even late-model mobile devices with high quality cameras
Some of this equipment is extremely expensive, which can increase the price of mole mapping to the patient and make it hard to decide if mole mapping is worth it. At Spot Check Clinic, we use the DermEngine/MoleScope system that allows the use of any mobile device with the DermEngine or MoleScope app. This reduces the cost of molemapping to our patients but because we use simple and inexpensive techniques and hardware and we share our photographic records with patients, it's possible for our patients to use a comparable camera and the same app to take their own mole mapping photos at a quality similar to the ones we take at the clinic.
Mole mapping software may exist as part of the hardware device, or independently such as a mobile app or cloud-based software on the web. The software can:
- document the appearance of moles and other skin lesions over a period of time
- identify moles and other skin lesions and plot them on a body map
- compare earlier and later photos of body regions to identify changes in moles and other skin lesions
For more information, see our molemapping page.