Melanoma is the skin cancer that is most concerning, as it has the most potential for serious complications and a difficult course. Although the vast majority of melanomas are found and cured readily, melanoma has a risk that is far greater that other skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell.
To assist physicians & patients in recognizing pigmented skin lesions that are likely to be early melanomas or to develop into future melanomas, there are simple, beginning guidelines recommended. This is the ABCD approach to melanoma detection. These stand for:
D— Diameter (size)
A nice summary of this information and the particulars are here:
To assist physicians and dermatologists in improving melanoma detection, the MELA-FIND device has recently been approved. Using computer imaging, special wavelengths of light ,and expert algorithms to analyze skin lesion data, the MELA-FIND is supposed to help identify concerning skin lesions as well as, if not better than, an expert dermatologist. Proven effective, but of uncertain accuracy and perfection, the MELA-FIND device will be appearing in The Valley in the near future. Whether this device is worthwhile using and whether you should have an evaluation based on this device, is a complicated question, as this NY Times article indicates.
I’m uncertain as to the benefits of this evaluation and am awaiting further data before recommending patients consider such an evaluation, but I’ll keep you updated on additional information as it becomes available.