Mole Mapping Service Provides Vital Care to Over 400 Patients5th December 2023
In August 2022, the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, in partnership with Cancer Focus NI was proud to be the first Trust in Northern Ireland to provide a vital mole mapping service. Over the past 18 months it has helped over 400 patients.
The nurse led two year pilot project at the Ulster Hospital, offers an advanced mole mapping technique for specific patients identified by the clinical team as being at higher risk of developing melanoma skin cancer.
Cases of skin cancer are increasing in Northern Ireland. Approximately four hundred people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer each year. Therefore, prevention and early detection is vital.
“I think it is so important to have a service like this,” explained patient Lynne Davison. “The staff here have been so helpful, so professional and really made me feel at ease. I have to be honest and say I was dreading it, but the nurses have made it as much of an enjoyable experience as it can be.
“I would have a lot of moles and it would be difficult to check them in places such as my back, plus I have a history of melanoma in my family. The nurses have been very thorough with the images. It is a service that I couldn’t live without. From the first session you are made to feel very comfortable, for me its peace of mind.”
Skin Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist Louise Harden described how the technology used during the mole mapping session “provides a head to toe sequential series of photographs of the patient.”
“The feedback we have received from many patients is that they are reassured by the service. It can be very difficult to monitor your own moles. The patients who are referred here could have in excess of 1-200 moles. Patients who are older or live on their own find it difficult to self-monitor, so for that reason they feel very reassured to have a nurse examine them and know that a Dermatologist Consultant will be looking at the images.
Louise stressed that if you notice any changes to your skin or moles, then your GP should be the first point of call. “There is a misconception that because we live in Northern Ireland and may not have hot summers, skin cancer may not be such a priority. That is not the case as the numbers are rising year on year.”
Consultant Nurse Skin Cancer and Co-Lead of the mole mapping project Sheena Stothers, hopes to continue this service in collaboration with the Department for Health and Cancer Focus NI.
To find out more about skin cancer and how you can protect yourself visit www.careinthesun.org
If you are concerned about skin cancer you can speak to your GP or call the Cancer Focus NI free information and support NurseLine on 0800 783 3339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org