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Skin Cancer screening for moles and melanoma; How to be skin-safe in the sun and what a mole screening involves


With summer fast approaching, it’s essential people take the right precautions to stay sun-safe.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK with rates rising. At least 100,000 new cases are diagnosed each year with the disease killing over 2,500 in the UK (British Skin Foundation).

There are three types of skin cancer to be aware of; malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. The rates of malignant melanoma are rising faster than any other type of common cancer.

A recent survey by the British Association of Dermatologists has shown that more than one in three people (35%)  have been sunburnt in the last year while in the UK and almost half of those surveyed (46%) who’d been abroad in the last twelve months got sunburnt. Eight out of ten people are failing to apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. Dr Dickson explained:

“It’s important to be aware of your skin and regularly check your moles, both old and new. If someone has a history of sunburn as a child or through sunbed use it’s especially important to have any moles inspected thoroughly by a specialist in skin cancer and mole screening

Firstly, the majority of people have a few moles and, in most cases, there is no need to be concerned. However there are a few things to look out for; an increase in size of moles, a change in shape or colour or the mole becoming irregular.

Although sun provides the body with much needed vitamin D, it’s imperative to avoid burning by applying sunscreen regularly, ideally every two hours, using a minimum of SPF15.  Cover up with loose fitting long sleeves and a wide brimmed hat.  Wear sunglasses that block UV radiation and most importantly avoid the sun when it is at its strongest (between 11am and 3pm in the UK).”

Dr Dickson went on to describe what happens at The Edinburgh Clinic’s  Mole Screening facility;

“Full screenings can be arranged whereby a full body assessment using a hand held dermatoscope (a device that takes detailed photographs of moles and other skin lesions) to identify moles displaying suspicious abnormalities or appearing in any way different.  Any unusual moles and a selection of the remaining moles will be photographed with the images securely stored to allow for comparison if required at a future date. 

Once the assessment has been performed, it’s important the patient continues to monitor any moles, particularly in the chest or back area for size, colour, shape or density and also for any signs of bleeding. If changes are detected, don’t delay with a GP appointment”

A Mini Mole Screen at The Edinburgh Clinic takes no more than 30 minutes and uses non-invasive diagnostic equipment to examine a specific mole or lesion. Any suspicious moles or can be removed, often on the same day. Also offered by The Edinburgh Clinic is a Mole Screen Plus service, a full body screening for people with multiple moles, and Corporate Mole Screening, where 6-8 employees can be screened in an hourly session.  

Dr Dickson’s final words of advice are “it’s better to be skin safe than sun sorry”.

Learn more about The Edinburgh Clinic’s Mole Screening services by calling 0131 447 2340 or visit

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