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Reported November 2014
MelaFind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- (Ivanhoe Newswire) More than 76-thousand Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. If it’s not caught early, this type of skin cancer can be deadly. Doctors used to rely on biopsies to make a diagnosis, but now there’s a much less painful way. Spotting melanoma is easier than ever.
The beach, the pool, the bed…there are plenty of places to get a tan. Deb Fischer used to know them all.
“I tanned like it was my job. I would lay out on my roof. I would lay on tin foil, baby oil. I would go to the tan beds,” Deb Fischer told Ivanhoe.
But all that sun exposure put deb’s health at risk.
At age 21 – she was diagnosed with melanoma. Since then, she’s had dozens of biopsies to check if other moles were cancerous.
“I have scars all over my body,” said Fischer, “I probably have at least 40 scars.”
Now there’s an easier, pain-free way to check suspicious moles. It’s called MelaFind.
“It really helps us decide which lesions need to be biopsied,” Philip Bailin, M.D., Dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic explained to Ivanhoe.
The scanner transmits 10 different wavelengths of light into the skin and takes an image of the patient’s mole. That image is compared to others in a database of more than 10-thousand lesions.
“It’s about 98-percent sensitive and that’s far more sensitive than the average dermatologist,” said Dr. Bailin.
The test takes less than a minute. This mole is just 2.78-percent likely to be melanoma.
“The patients are very thankful for this. It saves them biopsies,” Dr. Bailin explained.
Deb now wears sunscreen every day and as a dermatology nurse she educates others about the risks of skin cancer.
“I am a huge proponent of prevention,” Fischer said.
She’s hoping her efforts and this device will save her skin from any more cutting.
If MelaFind shows that a patient has a high probability for melanoma, he or she will still need a biopsy to confirm that the lesion is cancerous. The database is constantly being updated and new images are added from patients all over the country. MORE.
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