The High-Tech Tools of Skin Cancer Detection
Posted on 04/17/2014 on behalf of Dr. Kenrick Spence, M.D., F.A.C.S.
By: Jeffrey B. Stricker
Early skin cancer detection? There's an app for that. It's true, the Doctor Mole app and other similar smartphone applications are among the high-tech advances made in recent years to improve skin cancer detection. At our Hillcrest Dermatology & Plastic Surgery locations in Orlando and The Villages, we embrace technological advances that provide us with additional tools to improve patient care.
Advances in secure telecommunication technology and digital photography are also being used to help detect skin cancer, including melanoma, in its earliest stages. Early detection is something we focus on as part of our skin care approach at Hillcrest because treatment for skin cancer, when caught early, is almost always successful.
Besides smartphone apps, other ways technology is being used to help diagnose skin cancer include:
- Teledermatology: A dermatologist can now remotely examine a patient's moles or pigmented lesions via digital photos sent privately from a primary care physician's office. This is especially valuable for people who live in more rural areas.
- Full body mole mapping: Painless and non-invasive, mole mapping is used for patients with a high risk of getting skin cancer. Digital photos taken of a patient's entire skin surface are examined by a dermatologist, who then takes microscopic photos of suspicious moles. These are mapped to the initial photos and stored. Any changes noticed at subsequent appointments may be early signs of melanoma, and the specialist can order a biopsy.
These kinds of tools are extremely useful and are making it easier to detect skin cancer in its early stages. But even as technology helps dermatologists spot skin cancer, it's important to remember that early detection starts in each person's home. Be aware of signs to should look for in moles using the ABCDE guidelines, make self-exams part of a weekly routine, and get examined regularly by a board-certified dermatologist.
You can request a consultation online if you are concerned about a suspicious mole, or want a thorough skin examination. Or call us at (407) 999-2585 to schedule an appointment. To learn about some of the innovative ways we treat skin cancer once it is detected, check back soon in this continuing blog series.