Improvements in Dermoscopy can Facilitate Skin Cancer Diagnosis while Minimizing the Need for Biopsy
- Posted on: Dec 15 2018
Dermoscopy offers physicians a low-cost diagnostic technique that aids in the early detection of skin cancers, including melanoma. However, the use of dermoscopy requires specialized training and experience, which not all dermatologists seek. According to statistics, there are parts of the country that are grossly underserved due to the localization of dermoscopic training primarily at larger academic dermatology programs. Recently, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center rolled out a telementoring program through which more dermatology residents can receive the training they need to better serve a wider patient population.
What Makes Dermoscopy Different?
A dermatoscope is a handheld instrument that has a bright light and 10x magnifier. These two features significantly improve the dermatologist’s ability to observe detailed patterns of pigmentation and blood vessels. As a result, the physician is better able to recognize the minute details of shape, symmetry, and color. Moreover, dermoscopy also helps the physician better observe differences between normal and abnormal skin lesions. The use of polarized light may be key in this achievement due to the ability to illuminate chrysalis structures associated with inflammation and scarring.
In addition to the increased accuracy of immediate observation, the dermatoscope can also be used to take high-resolution photographs of various growths for later reference. According to experts, it is this combination of features that enables a dermatologist to truly master the art of skin cancer diagnosis.
The better doctors become at evaluating skin lesions using innovative techniques like dermoscopy, the better they can develop and perform truly successful treatment protocols. Proficiency in dermoscopic examination has translated into fewer biopsies of normal skin lesions and reduced stress on patients.
Dermoscopy and Mohs Go Hand in Hand
Mohs micrographic surgery has become the most successful technique for removing various skin cancer lesions, including melanoma. The procedure is reliable, safe, and predictable in its ability to remove all cancerous cells in the smallest possible section of tissue.
The American Society for Mohs Surgery (ASMS) has been serving dermatologists for more than 25 years. Our program is based on a commitment to continued education for Fellowship and Residency trained physicians. To learn more about membership and our upcoming courses, call (800) 616-2767.