Cosmedics’ Director Warns Against Relying on Mole Diagnosis Apps

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With a few recent launches, new apps designed to diagnose moles have become more widely available. Dr Ross Perry, Medical Director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics, sees some merits, but warns patients against relying on these for suspicious moles.

Mole Check

Cosmedics Skin Clinics

It is important to trust your instinct. Our advice is always ‘if in doubt, check it out’. Any mole causing concern should be seen by a professional as soon as possible.

As smartphones become cleverer, one of the growth areas this year has been in health apps and there are now a number dedicated to looking at skin moles.

Using a phone app is fast and convenient while patients are in the ‘research mode’ of learning about their moles. It is something that people feel comfortable doing in the privacy of their own home with minimum hassle. What’s more, the simple availability of these apps has been very helpful in gaining media coverage, further raising awareness of the importance of regular mole checks.

However, critics from the skin treatment industry and skin cancer experts have generally been quick to condemn this development, above all raising concerns about the accuracy of diagnosis.

Dr Ross Perry, Medical Director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics, warns patients against relying on this

“Fundamentally, common sense says that a smartphone app cannot replace a fact to face consultation. During a consultation, our doctors and surgeons don’t only examine the mole, but also discuss with the patient any concerns they might have. Things like the rate of growth, any changes, discharge or even ‘having a hunch that it’s odd’ are important but are not included in the app-based assessments. The dialogue is an important part of the process.”

“The issue is that if a patient has a suspicious mole which an app assesses as OK or low risk, they might not seek further attention. If a mole is abnormal, it is very important to see a GP or a doctor specialising in mole diagnosis as soon as possible. If caught early, there are excellent outcomes, but skin cancer can be virulent if left untreated. While it can be a useful indicator in some cases, the implications of misdiagnosis are potentially life-threatening. This means that it is simply too important to rely on a smartphone and any concerns should be dealt with as soon as possible, even if it’s just to put the mind at rest.”

Cosmedics Skin Clinics appreciate that going to have a consultation can be a hassle, so they offer a free of charge mole consultation via email. Dr Perry explains:

“Many patients have lumps or bumps that they’re not sure of and welcome an expert opinion. We offer a service whereby patients can email a photo of their skin blemish for our doctors to provide some advice. Sometimes we can clearly see whether the lesion is a mole, skin tag, wart or cyst, other times we might need some further information. This opens up an important dialogue with patients, enabling them to have an understanding of what’s likely to be involved.”

“If we have any concerns about the mole, we will advise them to seek medical attention immediately. However, the vast majority of skin blemishes do turn out to be harmless and can then be removed if required for cosmetic reasons.”

“Having a skilled doctor or surgeon view a photo of a mole is arguably better than an automated app, although we would still advise that this is no replacement for a full face to face consultation in person.”

“It is important to trust your instinct. Our advice is always ‘if in doubt, check it out’. Any mole causing concern should be seen by a professional as soon as possible. If your doctor has any concerns, they will refer patients very quickly to a specialist for proper assessment and removal if necessary.”

As well as standard skin lesion consultations, Cosmedics doctors also offer a full body mole check service, carried out by trained and experienced private mole removal doctors.

Cosmedics’ Aesthetic Doctors are all trained in mole removal, offering a choice of popular laser mole removal with minimal scarring, shave excision with no stitches required or mole removal surgery by ellipse excision for the largest lesions. Any moles that are deemed to be suspicious can be removed quickly – usually at the same appointment – and full testing is included to rule out any issues for full peace of mind.

Cosmedics Skin Clinics was established in 2003 and has built up an excellent reputation for the diagnosis and removal of unwanted skin lesions with cysts, warts and skin tags treated; as well as moles.

The company also offers a full range of cosmetic treatments, including popular lip enhancement and wrinkle relaxing injections, dermal fillers and dermaroller®; plus medical treatments including varicose veins, thread vein treatment and excessive sweating injections.

The company achieves high patient satisfaction ratings and have recently received the WhatClinic.com “Five Star Treatment Customer Service Award” after a series of excellent independent reviews.

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