Mole map service to launch

A new mole-map service will launch in pharmacies this week to make life-saving melanoma diagnosis more accessible to New Zealanders.

MoleMap Spot Checks will be launched at selected pharmacies to increase public uptake of skin lesion diagnosis.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in New Zealand, affecting around 45,000 Kiwis every year, with about 320 dying from the disease annually.

MoleMap CEO Adrian Bowling says the service - being piloted at Life Pharmacy St Lukes, Glenfield and Albany - will make lesion diagnosis both more affordable and convenient.

"Often people notice changes in a mole but may put off doing something until it's too late. Now it's something they can get checked out in the mall during their lunch hour, without the need for an appointment," Mr Bowling said.

Auckland dermatologist and MoleMap medical director Dr Mark Gray said it's important that New Zealanders and their partners take more notice of lesions on their skin and particularly those that fall into the "ugly duckling" category.

This category is used by skin cancer researchers to explain the theory that moles on individuals generally tend to resemble one another, and the ones that don't are of higher concern, he says.

Dr Gray says when one mole seems to fall outside of the norm it is worth having a medical professional take a closer look at it.

Images of the lesions will be taken with the latest MoleMap custom-designed melanoma camera.

It will then be sent by a secure link to a panel of MoleMap-registered dermatologists along with a patient history and details for review.

Patients can then expect a diagnosis report within a few days.