by Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new high tech way to detect the deadliest form of skin cancer is now available. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more details.
It’s Melanoma Monday, a day to raise awareness about skin cancer. Melanoma is the deadliest kind, claiming one person’s life every hour in the U.S. But the disease is curable, if caught early. Now a life-saving tool is available to help.
33-year-old Victoria Trudel was always tan, as a kid through her 20’s.
“I look back and regret it,” said Victoria. Now she gets regular skin checks.
Dermatologist Doris Day is looking for signs of melanoma, and is using a first-of-its-kind, FDA approved device called MelaFind.
“MelaFind has truly been a deal changer for my practice,” said Dr. Day.
Doctors try to catch melanoma early, when it’s most curable, but that can be difficult. They typically rely on biopsies to check suspicious moles, which can be unnecessary, costly and painful.
“Not everyone wants a scar. Some people don’t heal well,” said Dr. Day.
But MelaFind lowers the need for many biopsies.
The device works by penetrating a light below the skin. Then it takes digital pictures of the mole, which are sent to a computer and analyzed. In less than a minute, it calculates a score which shows whether a biopsy should be done.
“In the clinical trials it was 98.3 percent sensitive, and that does beat our naked eye,” said Dr. Day.
MelaFind shows a mole of concern on Victoria is actually low risk.
“It’s one less stress for me to worry about,” said Victoria.
MelaFind can be especially beneficial for suspicious spots on the face, where biopsy’s can leave scars, but at this point it’s not covered by many insurance plans.
For more information: