Saving Lives Of Florida Residents Who Develop Skin Cancer
Once every two hours a Florida resident is diagnosed with a new case of melanoma skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. A local dermatologist is working to decrease this alarming statistic, and increase the likelihood that local residents diagnosed with this deadliest type of skin cancer will survive.
"Staying out of the sun or protecting your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays is the best defense against skin cancer, but it's equally important to have your skin examined at least once a year by a board-certified dermatologist, especially if you have any moles that are irregular in shape or have recently appeared or changed in size, shape or color," said Dr. Armand Cognetta, medical co-director of the nationwide trial of Dermatology Associates of Tallahassee. "Early detection of suspicious moles is the key to preventing melanoma."
When melanoma is caught in its early stages, it's almost always curable.
Risk factors for melanoma include:
* Sunlight, or too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation
* Presence of many moles and/or large moles (>6mm)
* Fair skin, freckling, light eyes, or natural red or blond hair
* Family history of melanoma
* Past personal history of melanoma
Traditionally, dermatologists have relied on their own eyes and judgment in deciding whether to remove a suspicious mole.
Dermatology Associates of Tallahassee is participating in a nationwide patient trial to test an investigational medical technology called MelaFind, designed to assist physicians in the early diagnosis of melanoma.
MelaFind is a non-invasive hand-held imaging device that emits light of multiple wavelengths to capture images of suspicious pigmented skin lesions (moles). MelaFind then analyzes the images in order to provide information to the physician and produce a recommendation of whether the lesion should be biopsied.
"We encourage patients to come in for skin exams in general, especially during the summer months when people tend to spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun," said Dr. Cognetta.