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Innovative Mole Scanning Service available at Boots UK Raises Awareness of Rising Skin Cancer Threat Amongst Young People

09 May 2017
News Healthcare

-          Melanoma incidence rates have increased by 119% in the UK since the early 1990s3 –

-          Over three-quarters of young people wouldn’t recognise key signs of melanoma2

-          1 in 10 (11.7%) moles scanned in Boots UK stores identified by ScreenCancer as needing follow up –

As part of their mission to raise the health and happiness of the nation, Boots UK is offering, in conjunction with ScreenCancer UK a Mole Scanning Service* to raise awareness of melanoma among young people and try to encourage them, and the rest of the country, to establish a life-long habit of regularly checking their moles.  

Boots UK has assessed data that shows today’s 15-24 year olds are more likely than previous generations to develop melanoma1 in their lifetime. Melanoma is the fastest growing form of skin cancer in the UK and although around half of malignant melanoma cases are currently diagnosed in people 65+, these rates have increased by 119% in the UK since the early 1990s3 and are set to continue rising - making skin cancer an even greater threat to today’s young people in future life.

Despite the rapidly rising rates of melanoma,1 overall awareness is too low and not enough Brits are regularly examining their moles for signs of abnormality – two-fifths (40%) said they never check their skin for indications of the disease2. Even when they do, more than three-quarters (77%) say they would not recognise signs of melanoma.2.

Early detection of melanoma hugely improves survival rates - in 80-90% of cases the melanoma can be removed with no recurrence4 - so it is essential to establish the habit of regular checking and raise awareness of what to look for using the ABCDE melanoma check-list (see call-out box). If your mole is in a difficult place to see as well as reach and protect with SPF, this would be another reason to ensure it’s looked at by a healthcare professional, such as your GP, and not forgotten about simply because it’s not in plain sight.

The quick and convenient Mole Scanning Service, provided by ScreenCancer UK, is available at selected Boots stores across the UK and aims to help people 18 years and above, identify as early as possible anything that needs further investigation.  Using a powerful imaging tool, the SIAscope captures images of five components of the skin across different layers.  A trained Boots Healthcare Advisor captures the images which are swiftly sent onto ScreenCancer UK for analysis by a Dermatology Specialist. If the mole or pigmented lesion is identified as a potential risk, a ScreenCancer Dermatology Nurse will contact the customer directly to discuss next steps.

In the initial trial phase of the service across 50** Boots UK stores, research has found that 11.7% of all moles scanned were identified as needing follow up.

One recent customer of the service, John Mercel, comments on his experience;

"The Mole Scanning Service at Boots saved my life! I became aware of a mole on my back after working abroad and was relieved to see Boots providing access to the service because I couldn’t properly see it myself. The staff were great and the whole process was quick and simple. ScreenCancer then contacted me within four days, informing me that the mole was suspicious and advised taking my report to my GP for referral to see a specialist. My GP referred me on the weight of the report from ScreenCancer and within two days I saw a dermatologist. They thought it could be a malignant melanoma and removed it that day. When the results confirmed it was a melanoma I was just so relieved to have found it early.”

Boots UK Pharmacist Liz McPherson comments; “Life is hectic for today’s young people and checking their moles can be low on their priority list but it’s something they really should be aware of.  I have a large family myself and I make sure it’s something I keep an eye on as well as reminding them to regularly check for any signs of changes using the ABCDE checklist.  If it’s caught early, melanoma can be dealt with quickly and successfully – which is why we feel this swift, thorough and convenient assessment service is so important for people to be aware of.”

ScreenCancer representative Donna Smart comments; “The Mole Scanning Service is available on the high street in 50 Boots pharmacies across the UK making it convenient and highly accessible for busy people.  It’s a quick, easy, and painless analysis of moles and pigmented skin lesions. All you need to do is go online to find your nearest location and book an appointment.”

Visit for further information about the service and to book an appointment online.


Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact the Boots UK Press Office:

Boots UK Press Office: 020 7025 6657/ 


About Boots UK

Boots UK (, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.  With 2,509[i] stores in the UK, Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, be the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare and offer innovative 'only at Boots' exclusive products such as the UK’s leading skincare brand No7, all delivered with the great value customers love. Created over 165 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.

[i]As of 31 August 2016, excluding equity method investments

About ScreenCancer UK

ScreenCancer UK strive to increase and develop knowledge and technology in Skin Cancer Screening within the UK. We focus on a quality, cost effective and confidential service to all our customers using innovative screening technology and highly trained professionals.


At ScreenCancer, we pride ourselves on a small team of highly qualified professionals. We ensure we consider the specific needs of our customers, by delivering our service in a prompt, confidential, dignified manner adapting to the needs of diverse communities.

ScreenCancer UK are proactive and pragmatic in their approach and are passionate and driven to raise awareness of skin cancer through educating self-checking, prevention and early detection to the UK.



* In selected stores only (50 stores across the UK), charges and eligibility criteria apply, subject to trained staff availability.

** This statistic is based on all scans from February 2016 to March 2017. This included the initial trial in 17 stores from February – June 2016, which then increased to 37 stores in July 2016, further increasing to 50 stores in August 2016.





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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023