Mole Screening Service

dearPHARMACIST partnering with ScreenCancer UK

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Mole Screening Service

Available today at Regent Pharmacy, 19 Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1AS Tel: (01474) 534771

Skin cancer (malignant melanoma) is a growing issue amongst us in the UK. Skin cancer has become the second most common cancer for people under 50 years of age and shows no sign of slowing down.

The first signs of malignant melanoma are moles on our body, but the problem is they can be overlooked and not seen as a warning sign of a much greater issue. The good news is, we now have the technology to conduct Mole Screening Services in order to detect if your moles may potentially be hiding an underlining issue.

But first, let’s learn a bit more about moles, the Mole Screening Service offered at pharmacies, and how your pharmacist can help you prevent the development of malignant melanoma in your body.

Benefits of Detecting Moles Early

If malignant melanoma spreads in your body it can be very difficult to contain and treat effectively. But if it is detected early, not only can it be treated efficiently and prevent spreading, malignant melanoma can also be cured.

The chances of curing are higher the earlier you catch the development of the skin cancer.

The Warning Signs of Malignant Melanoma

These moles that develop because if malignant melanoma may have irregular shape and have more than one colour. They may also cause irritation such as itching, develop a crust, or possibly bleed.

Having many moles, especially if it is around 100 or more, may point towards developing malignant melanoma at a more increased rate than the average person.

With the Mole Screening Service it’s much easier to see which moles are unnatural and could, over time without proper treatment, develop into a life threatening issue.

From there, with the help of your pharmacist (or GP if necessary), you will be given steps to counteract the damage caused by the moles and therefore, the malignant melanoma.

Why Should We Screen for Moles?

Currently, there is no official screening for malignant melanoma, despite the fact that roughly 13,300 people in the UK are diagnosed with them annually.

Skin cancer is on the rise, especially for people aged between 20 to 24 and the chances of developing skin cancer steadily rises as we age.

Moles can appear anywhere on your body but tend to develop on the parts most often exposed to the sun. Though the mole may seem small and isolated, malignant melanoma can spread in the blood stream and harm the rest of your body.

But if caught early, treatment becomes easier to apply, as the malignant melanoma is contained in a specific region.

Benefits of screening moles at pharmacy

Using the Mole Screening Service at your local pharmacy is convenient for several reasons:

Pharmacists can consult with you personally in a one-on-one setting

While explaining to you the mole screening process, they can also inform you the benefits of self-checking for moles, where to find your results, and what to do to prevent developing skin cancer.

On top of that, your pharmacist is up to date about moles and the factors leading up to developing skin cancers

Including information regarding ultraviolet (UV) radiation, tanning naturally or in sun beds, and how to prevent the development of malignant melanomas. They can also help you create a plan for your next steps after the test is completed.

Pharmacists are more than happy to prescribe you certified information related to moles and your health. If necessary, they can also refer you to a GP for more in-depth analyses of your moles and treatment.

The Mole Screening Process

Information phase:

Your pharmacist will begin by obtaining your written consent to use the Mole Screening Service to screen any moles that may be suspicious and could lead to skin cancer development.

They will then ask you for your basic information (address, phone number, email, etc) and then move onto more in-depth information including:

  • Family history of skin cancer (if any)

  • History of sun exposure (how regularly, where, etc)

  • The amount of moles you have currently

  • Your skin type

Once your pharmacist has the necessary information, they will begin the screening process.

Mole Screening phase:

Identify which two moles you wish to have scanned — if you want more than two scanned, there will be an additional fee or visiting your GP may be your best route. Don’t worry, your pharmacist will provide you with the most secure advice.

Your mole will be cleaned with alcohol fluids before being scanned by the machine. The actual test only takes seconds to complete.

Your pharmacist will ask you questions related to the moles you’re having scanned to better understand how or why it appeared and what this can mean for your health.

Your pharmacist will give you a leaflet and mole checking information wheel containing details related to the development of moles, of malignant melanoma, protection methods and potential next steps.

Once the scan is completed, you’ll be registered into the system in order to receive your results from ScreenCancer UK. Their staff will contact you, either through SMS or email, about your results. If the moles you have scanned seem suspicious, the staff will contact you directly and speak to you personally and verbally.

Next steps:

In the case of developing malignant melanomas, UV radiation are not our friend. The UV rays from the sun and in tanning beds lead to the development of unhealthy and discoloured moles and, in the worst case scenario, skin cancer.

To protect ourselves fully, we need to use cover (shaded areas), our clothing, and sunscreen while we are exposed to UV rays. Remember, there’s no such thing as a safe or healthy tan.

If necessary, your pharmacist can connect you to your GP who can then help you further for treatment or relate more information about your current moles or any moles that may be harmful to your short or long term health.

Pharmacists are thoroughly trained to use the Mole Screening Machine and to provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding malignant melanomas, moles, your health and where to go after completing your Mole Screening Service test.

Customer frequently asked questions

Q - I have many moles - should I have all of them scanned?

A - No, you only need to scan the moles that are suspicious and which have changed recently, or appear different from other moles you have on your body.

To assess the moles that are suspicious or you are concerned about, use the ABCDE rule.

A - Asymmetry: Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical. If you were to draw a line through a normal spot, you would have two symmetrical halves. In cases of skin cancer, spots don't look the same on both sides.

B - Border: A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges.

C - Colour: A mole that is more than one hue is suspicious and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Normal spots are usually one colour. This can include lightening or darkening of the mole. Melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin, which accounts for the cancers appearing in mixed shades of tan, brown and black.

D - Diameter: If it is larger than a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch or 6mm), it needs to be examined by a doctor. This is includes areas that do not have any other abnormalities (colour, border, asymmetry). But, don't be fooled by size alone - it can be smaller.

E - Elevation/Evolving: Elevation means the mole is raised above the surface and has an uneven surface. Looks different from the rest or changing in size, shape, colour.

Q - Are there any side effects to having the scan?

A - No, the scan is completely safe, and your skin is only exposed to a light (infrared).

Capturing the image is completely non-invasive, harmless and painless, and only takes a few minutes to complete.

Q - What happens if the mole analysed is abnormal or suspicious?

A - If the dermatologist analyses the mole as abnormal or suspicious, it will be necessary to follow up with further investigations. ScreenCancer nursing staff will make contact with you and discuss this with you. It will normally involve visiting your GP with your report. It may mean that a biopsy (small sample of tissue from the mole) is taken, or the mole is excised (removed).

Q - Can I have my moles checked at my GP?

A - Yes, some GP’s can examine moles with a Dermatoscope but it depends on the GP’s experience and if they are trained to make such a diagnosis.  GP surgeries do not have the scanning technology used in this service in their surgeries and cannot view the cells of moles beneath the skin.

Q - Can I be sure that I never get cancer from my mole if it is considered normal?

A - No, our bodies and moles are constantly changing, so therefore we urge ALL to be aware and self-check your moles using the ABCDE rule.

Q - What about other forms of skin cancer - can you test it?

A - This technology is designed to detect malignant melanomas, and is therefore not suitable for other forms of cancer. If you have any cause for concern we recommend you to go to your GP for a referral to a Dermatologist.

Q - How can I ensure that information is confidential?

A - Both the pharmacy and ScreenCancer systems used, are secure and protected. All employees adhere to the Data Protection Act to ensure all customer information is confidential.

Q – Can you scan any mole on the body?

A - The SIAscope is able to capture most images of moles on the body as long as a good contact is maintained between the skin and SIAscope. Areas which are sometimes difficult to scan can be ears and noses and between fingers and toes. 

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