Early Skin Cancer Detection Saves Lives

Skin cancer is more common than any other type of cancer in the world; approximately 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Fortunately, the majority of skin cancers are curable when they are detected early, underscoring the vital importance of regular skin examinations by a board-certified dermatologist.

Melanoma Survival Rates

Skin cancer survival rates vary greatly depending on how quickly the cancer is detected. When detected early, the 5-year survival rate of melanoma is estimated at 99 percent. Sadly, this 5-year survival rate falls to 66 percent if melanoma has already reached the lymph nodes, and it drops down to 27 percent if melanoma has spread to distant organs. Undeniably, early detection is essential to saving the lives of people diagnosed with melanoma.

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers Can Be Deadly, Too

Nonmelanoma skin cancers must also be taken seriously as they cause over 5,400 deaths around the world every month. The two most common types of skin cancers, basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), can be disfiguring and even deadly when not detected and treated early. In fact, recent statistics suggest that twice as many people in the U.S. die each year from SCCs  than from melanoma.

This alarming fact is likely due to a combination of factors, including cancer rates (SCCs are far more common than melanoma) and lack of early detection, as people do not always know what to look for or when to take skin lesions seriously. Fortunately, BCCs rarely spread to other organs, and SCCs usually spread slowly. However, for both of these skin cancers, early detection can prevent disfigurement and significantly reduce health complications, in addition to saving lives.

Looking Out for AKs

Actinic keratoses (AKs) are precancerous skin lesions that can develop into squamous cell carcinomas, with studies showing 2-10 percent do so every year. Given that most squamous cell carcinomas begin as AKs, it’s important to talk to your dermatologist if you think you have an AK (notice a pink, scaly, persistent sandpaper-like skin lesion). Getting treatment early could prevent such a spot from turning

into skin cancer. It’s also important to understand that once you’ve had an AK, your lifetime risk of skin cancer increases. Armed with this knowledge, you and your dermatologist can work together to monitor your skin health and catch any signs of skin cancer as early as possible. There are now topical products and vitamins that can reduce your risk from an integrative dermatological perspective.

Early Detection with MetaOptima/DermEngine

Technology has now enhanced our ability to detect skin cancer, aside from regular skin examinations in the office (at least once per year) and monthly self-monitoring. Advanced technologies can assist this process by providing a more accurate and thorough examination than is possible with the human eye alone. Much the way screening devices are used at the airport.

At Medovate, we now use Total Body Photography and Mole Mapping technology from DermEngine/MetaOptima to track and detect changes to your skin. Using high-quality imaging, this AI full-body cancer screen creates a virtual 3D map of your skin that can be referenced for comparison at subsequent skin examinations. This enhances our ability to spot new or changing skin lesions as they develop, much like the way NASA images the stars to detect changes in our galaxy.

Please know we recommend you take advantage of this new, safe technology to help protect yourself. During your next skin examination here at Medovate Dermatology, we can collect Total Body Photography images and then track any changes in your subsequent visits. This DermEngine software also enables patients to upload their own dermoscopic images from their phones directly into their cloud-based, encrypted system. This novel surveillance program at Medovate will help safely monitor your skin and enhance our ability to detect warning signs, so we can take swift action if any precancerous or cancerous skin lesions are discovered.

With our board-certified dermatologists being assisted by MetaOptima/DermEngine, we can now provide you more assurance with the best analysis of your moles, lesions, and overall skin health/ wellness. Whether that be through education or technology, Medovate’s values are rooted in patient empowerment and education. We are confident this new surveillance program gives us the best chance to maintain your health.

In the event that a skin cancer is discovered, our Medovate Dermatology team recently welcomed an American College of Mohs Surgery fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon,  Elizabeth LaBuz Noble, MD, FAAD, FACMS, to provide our patients with excellent care from an exceptionally trained physician.

Please call Medovate at 847.499.5500 to learn more about our screening program and schedule your annual skin exam with DermEngine/MetaOptima. We appreciate you trusting us with safeguarding your skin.  

Skin cancer facts and statistics were taken from https://www.skincancer.org.