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By Joely Walker

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Three months ago I headed to the Mole Clinic on Argyll St, London, for my appointment. Was I scared? Definitely; I’ll admit I've been terrible in the past when it comes to sun abuse – I’ve burnt more times than I can count, used sunbeds in my teens and never saw the need for wearing daily SPF in cloudy England. Years on and I've wised up to my ‘silly’ (to use my mother’s term) ways and plaster on SPF 30+ any time I even blink at the sun. Still, I thought it was about time that I took control and booked myself in to get my moles assessed by a professional.

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I'm greeted by a friendly nurse who chats me through the procedure (if you can even call it that, it’s very laid back) and after I've stripped down she looks at my moles and freckles under a light and takes pictures of them (a mole map if you will). She’ll send the pictures off to be analysed by a specialist and gives me tips on spotting early warning signs in the future (see below). The whole experience only takes about 45 minutes so I manage to squeeze it in to my lunch break.

Three days later I’m sent an email saying they would like me to come in again in three months to have two of my moles rescanned, as they looked irregular. Oh cr*p!?! Comes to mind. But they call me and explain this is just precautionary and that it’s not uncommon for them to ask you to come in for a second visit.

I head back for round two, they take pictures of the moles (which takes about five minutes this time) and I’m given the all clear within two days. Had it been different news, their specialists would have guided me with the next steps.

Even if you’re not a moley person I’d still recommend getting checked – I learnt from session one that melanoma (cause of skin cancer) can form under your nails and between your toes, places you would never think to look out for. And other than the sitting on a stool in your undies bit, it’s quick and painless.

I’m already booked in for next summer, but I’ll be keeping an eye on my moles with The Mole Clinic’s ABCDE checking rules:

A is for Asymmetrical shape where one-half of the mole is unlike the other.

B is for Border irregularity where the mole is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined.

C is for Colour which varies from one area to another or has different shades of tan, brown, black.

D is for Diameter of a mole when it is bigger than 7mm.

E is for Evolving or changing size, shape or colour.

MOLECheck takes 45 minutes and costs £115. Available at The Mole Clinic 9 Argyll Street, London or at selected Superdrug pharmacies nationwide.

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