Q: What is mole mapping?
A: The term “mole mapping” most commonly refers to the monitoring process for a patient who is at a high risk for developing melanoma. The dermatologist uses a combination of tools. That may include a dermatoscope, which is a small handheld magnifying device, plus whole-body photography and skin examinations to determine which, if any, of the patient’s moles should be removed, or biopsied, and sent to a lab for examination under a microscope. There is active research for the application of leading-edge technologies like artificial intelligence to assist in monitoring for signs of skin cancer. However, for now, a skin examination with a trained physician aided by time-tested tools remains the best approach.
Robert Egbers, MD, is a dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon practicing in Johnson City, New York.