New tool to help diagnose skin cancer in London
Published Thursday, June 27, 2013 4:54PM EDT
The summer is the time when people are especially aware of skin cancer, and now there’s another diagnostic tool for doctors to use to help detect skin cancer.
Patient Tammy Buss is concerned about moles on her skin, "I'm very cognizant that as a kid - no sunscreen - and is something going to change?"
She is among the first patients in London to use the Verisante Aura at the Medpoint Health Care Centre, a machine designed to help identify suspicious moles.
Dr Sylvia Murchison, director of medicine at Medpoint, says "We use this data in conjunction with our clinical impression to see if we need to biopsy or not."
First the mole is measured, then an image is taken on the surface of the skin with a laser probe.
It takes about one second to get a reading. And the results are shown on a screen on the machine.
The moles are instantly compared to see if they have more similar characteristics to cancerous moles in a databank assembled by researchers at the University of British Columbia.
Medpoint President Alex Hanham says "What it does is it gives us a numerical reading saying it's highly similar to some of the moles that were found to be cancerous or less similar. Anything over a .324 would suggest it has some similarity to a cancerous mole."
For Buss, the test finds the mole on her leg warrants attention, "I guess I'll meet with the doctor and see what the next step will be," she says.
The machine is designed to help doctors determine the appropriate course of action when a suspicious mole is found.
Dermatologist Dr. Geoff Dilworth explains "If for example a lesion looked innocent to the eye but the Aura gave it a very high reading, it could be prudent to biopsy."
For her part, Buss is glad she had the procedure done, "I come once a year and when something changes you go, ‘What's different?’”
The cost of the procedure starts at around $75.