According to a recent snapshot survey by the British Association of Dermatologists, one in six people are not aware that a mole can be checked for free by a GP, instead believing this service has to be paid for.
We are therefore concerned that this financial element could cause people to delay seeking help.
The British Association of Dermatologists would like to highlight that people can get a suspicious mole looked at free of charge through the NHS, and are not obliged to pay to do so at a private clinic.
Consultant Dermatologists are the experts in diagnosing a skin cancer, and GPs can refer anyone with a possible skin cancer to a local dermatology department, on the NHS. There are no long waiting lists – in fact if your GP suspects you have a melanoma or SCC, the two more dangerous types, you will be seen within just two weeks. Of course people may choose to go to a private mole screening clinic, but they are usually then referred back to the NHS.
The BAD believes that non-invasive imaging techniques may have a role to play in the assessment of pigmented and other lesions of the skin. As such, they are often helpful in supporting the trained dermatologist in coming to a diagnosis.
The BAD has not seen any evidence that these imaging techniques, even when supplemented by computer processing and analysis of the images, can replace the experienced clinical opinion of a trained Consultant Dermatologist.
Patients concerned about a mole should, therefore, seek advice from their GP and ask for referral to a Dermatologist if there is concern, all of which can be done ‘free’ on the NHS.
The British Association of Dermatologists can't recommend specific doctors or clinics and will not be able to reply to such requests.