MoleSpec is a specialist assessment and treatment programme designed to find, assess and treat the type of skin cancer most commonly associated with moles: melanoma.
Melanoma and other skin cancers kill about 350 New Zealanders each year, and the incidence of these diseases is continuing to increase. (Melanoma, is the most common major malignancy in people under the age of 40, with risk peaking in middle age.) The best way to protect yourself is by early detection, as the outlook for melanoma is critically dependent on the depth of the cancer. With early-stage melanoma, a cure, or at least a better prognosis, is very likely. Early detection is best achieved by having a complete skin examination and assessment of moles by the person best qualified to do the job – a dermatologist, a specialist doctor fully trained in the assessment and treatment of all skin disorders and skin cancers – not a nurse, technician, general practitioner or mole clinic doctor.
During the course of a MoleSpec assessment, a comprehensive examination is made of the patient’s skin. State-of-the-art dermoscopy (also called dermatoscopy) equipment is used; a cross-polarised light scanner and cross-polarised light dermatoscopes complement the traditional instruments. This detects subtle changes in blood vessels and pigmentation, allowing early diagnosis of melanomas and other skin cancers. Digital photographs may be taken and recorded, although this is not often necessary. At the same time, precancerous keratoses, such as solar keratoses, can be easily treated with cryosurgery.
Any skin disorders or abnormalities are noted at the same time, and treatment, when appropriate, can be offered. Dermoscopy is also used in the assessment of benign skin lesions and some rashes. Only a dermatologist has the expertise to advise on appropriate treatment of all skin cancers, abnormal moles, precancerous growths and benign lesions.
About the Developer of MoleSpec
MoleSpec was created by Dr David Nicholls, MBChB., Dip G-U Med, DTM&H, FRACP, Dermatologist, and is a programme designed to be the most expert and efficient way of assessing moles and skin cancers.
Dr Nicholls works in private practice at Christchurch Dermatology, based at 154 Leinster Road, Christchurch. He graduated in medicine from the University of Otago, specialising in internal medicine before going on to specialise in dermatology, a discipline in which he has more than 25 years of experience.
Dr Nicholls’s training in dermatology was completed in Auckland, New Zealand, and at the prestigious St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin in London, England. Practising in Christchurch, he held the post of Consultant Dermatologist at Christchurch Public Hospital until 2003. He is also a senior clinical lecturer in pathology at the Christchurch Clinical School, Otago School of Medicine. He has published numerous papers, in local and international peer reviewed medical journals, and has made significant contributions to medical literature.
Dr Nicholls is an International Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and a member of numerous specialist societies, including the International Society of Dermoscopy, the British Association of Dermatologists, the Australasian Society of Dermatopathologists and the New Zealand Dermatological Society (Inc). Dermoscopy has been a routine part of Dr Nicholls’ practice for more than 15 years and this, plus the assessment and treatment of skin cancer and melanoma, is one of his major interests within dermatology.