Skin cancer remains a prevalent problem among adults of all ages. With summer right around the corner, it is once again time to increase awareness about how we can protect ourselves and those we love from unnecessary consequences. Here, we will discuss what professional skin cancer screenings are and how they differ in our Teaneck, NJ dermatology practice.
A professional skin cancer screening is a specific exam during which a physician looks at all of the markings on the body, from head to toe. From one screening to the next, the doctor and patient can note and discuss any changes that have occurred, such as new moles or changes in the color or texture of a mole. These professional exams complement the monthly exams all people are advised to do at home. Skin cancer screenings have been credited with the early detection of potentially serious skin cancers, including melanoma, and a decrease in skin cancer related deaths.
At Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center, patients don’t just get a professional skin cancer screening, they get an exam that involves advanced diagnostics. Always interested in utilizing the best tools for dermatologic exams, we perform skin cancer screenings using dermoscopy.
Dermoscopy is an examination technique that uses a dermatoscope. This handheld device magnifies an area of skin up to 10 times using polarized light. Viewed through a dermatoscope, a brown spot displays more vivid features and more prominent variations in pigment. This helps the dermatologist evaluate a lesion without having to take a biopsy.
Dermatoscopes are not new. Early versions worked by placing water or oil on the skin and covering that with glass. While this method improved the visual field, it was rather inconvenient and cumbersome. The advanced DermLite DL100 is the tool used in our office. This instrument magnifies an area of skin without coming into direct contact. Holding the dermatoscope about one-half inch away from the skin, we activate the LED light to illuminate the tissue we want to observe more closely. The dermatoscope can be moved closer to or farther away from the skin to adjust magnification. This method provides a clear view deep into pigmented spots, supporting the earliest possible detection of abnormalities.
There are several advantages to skin cancer screenings using dermoscopy, including: