- Boots UK is encouraging everyone to establish a life-long habit of regularly checking their moles
- New study published shows that of people accessing the Mole Scanning Service at Boots UK, more than one in 10 people required clinical follow up
- Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, more people might have put off an appointment with their GP to get their moles checked
A new study published in the Journal of Pharmacy highlights the role that community pharmacy can play in supporting the NHS by triaging patients who were concerned about their moles, ultimately playing a part in identifying suspicious moles and supporting diagnoses of malignant melanoma earlier.
The Mole Scanning Service at Boots uses reliable technology to quickly scan any suspicious moles from a local community pharmacy. The service is delivered in collaboration with ScreenCancer, which is responsible for the medical assessments and customer reporting.
In the study, almost 10,000 moles were scanned. The majority of which (88%) required no follow up, giving patients peace of mind, and of those referred for additional follow up, just under 1% of scans led to a confirmed diagnosis of malignant melanoma. Had this service not been available, these patients may have accessed their GP, demonstrating the support that community pharmacy can give the NHS on services such as this.
Early detection of melanoma hugely increased the success rates of healthcare intervention, for example mole removal. In 80-90% of cases, the melanoma can be removed with no recurrence1.
Marc Donovan, Boots Chief Pharmacist, commented: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people might have delayed seeking their GP’s advice, which makes services like this even more important. This service offers customers increased accessibility and convenience, particularly when early detection and intervention is critical.”
David Wright, Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the University of East Anglia, and co-author of the paper, said: “This evaluation shows again the contribution that community pharmacy can make to the health of the nation. Mole screening services of this nature enable potentially serious conditions to be detected much earlier and relieves pressure on GPs by providing an alternative screening route. The research question arising from this is whether this provides a cost-effective alternative which could be funded by the NHS.”
Mette Valeur, Managing Director of ScreenCancer and co-author of the paper, said: “We are pleased to work together with Boots in offering an easy access teledermatology service to customers with skin concerns. The quality of the images taken in the pharmacy enables our dermatologists to perform a high-quality assessment that provides the customer with a personalised advice regarding their skin concern. The feedback from customers and the sunshine stories they describe, gives the whole ScreenCancer team motivation to keep on the good work of early detection of potential skin cancer.”
For more information on the Boots Mole Scanning service or to book and appointment, visit boots.com/molescanning.
* In selected stores only (50 stores across the UK), charges and eligibility criteria apply, subject to trained staff availability.