Skin Cancer, Skin Checks

A patient’s view of SpotChat

SpotChat is an online skin cancer risk assessment conducted by a MoleMap melanographer

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Posted 05/05/20

My SpotChat experience - by Sarah Walter

I’ve been concerned about couple of moles during the past few weeks, as I’m now overdue my annual Full Body MoleMap – and there’s nothing like a global health crisis to get you worrying about health issues! So I thought I’d try out MoleMap’s new virtual skin check offer – SpotChat.

In a nutshell, SpotChat is an online chat and mole check with one of their specialist Melanographers (trained skin cancer nurses). It’s one of two innovative new services developed by MoleMap in response to the ever-changing situation at the moment – because unfortunately skin cancer such as melanoma doesn’t stop in a crisis.

Before my SpotChat

The first step was booking online – easy, and only took a few seconds. I soon received a confirmation email and a link to instructions, which recommended emailing close-up images of the offending moles to MoleMap before my appointment. It helps to have someone else take the photos, which need to be taken in good lighting and ideally show a ruler or a coin next to the spot for a size comparison. Like so...

Mole Map Spot Chat Sarah 2

Left: Before my SpotChat appointment I submitted a photo of the mole I was concerned about, using a ruler to indicate it's size.

During my SpotChat

I received a text and email reminder that morning with a link to SpotChat via Telehealth (virtual consultation technology). I clicked on the link in the email and within seconds, I was chatting to Lara, one of MoleMap’s Melanographers. Lara was great, an experienced skin cancer nurse and a real ‘people person’. She was personable and knowledgeable, and most importantly, very reassuring.

She asked me about the two moles of concern. One was a lighter mole on my arm that had shown some signs of irritation over summer – based on her extensive experience looking at moles day and day out, Lara didn’t think it was anything to worry about at this stage. The other was a darker mole on my back, which does need further monitoring (but not urgently), so she’s penciled me in for a reminder once their Full Body MoleMap service is up and running again.

Mole Map Spot Chat Sarah

Left: During the SpotChat appointment I spoke to Lara, one of MoleMap's Melanographers

What happens next?

If a more urgent diagnosis is needed, the Melanographer will refer you for a Smart Check, which is a 15-minute in-clinic consultation at selected MoleMap clinics (with full hygiene precautions including a mask for you, PPE gear for the Melanographer and a deep clean between each appointment).

Lara says the SpotChat service has been really well received by regular patients and new patients alike. “People do tend to worry about stuff like suspicious moles when in isolation,” she says. “It’s lovely to be able to put their minds at rest – or get it sorted if they need further diagnosis.”

Lara says that in just the first few days of MoleMap’s SpotChat service, she has already talked to dozens of people with a wide range of concerns. “Most of their concerns were not an issue,” she says. “But we have seen have a few serious moles already, which is what really matters – that we’re able to get these diagnosed and ensure that patients have a plan. It’s all about saving lives, that’s the bottom line.”

Tips & tricks

Most of us have become very familiar with online meetings via Zoom, Teams, HouseParty etc in the past few weeks – SpotChat works along similar lines, using a secure, confidential Telehealth connection. If you’re not comfortable using an online service, or if your Internet connection isn’t great, the Melanographer can always chat to you by phone – just let them know when you book.

It’s recommended that you hold your SpotChat in a quiet, private room away from noise and household distractions. Do ensure it’s private – if you’re already a MoleMap patient, the Melanographer may bring up your ‘body shots’ as a comparison and you might want to keep them to yourself!

The appointment took around 15 minutes, which was ample time to discuss two moles and the recommended next steps.

You can book a SpotChat appointment by clicking here.

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