One in five Americans will develop skin cancer. According to a 2007 study in Archives of Dermatology, more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually-more new cases than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined.
One might think that most people wouldn't hesitate to consult a dermatologist or their general practitioner about any bump, mole or discoloration on their body, since many skin cancers can now be successfully treated if found sufficiently early.
It is surprising that anyone with a skin lesion would hesitate before seeking medical evaluation - one excuse people give is that if they ignore it, it will just go away. Why else do people wait? Some may honestly believe their moles are nothing to worry about.
Others are terrified that a biopsy would leave a scar, a concern that does hold some validity since the majority of skin lesions are benign, but until recently, could only be proven benign by performing a biopsy and examining the surgically removed tissue under a microscope.
One innovative company, Caliber Imaging & Diagnostics, led by CEO L. Michael Hone, has taken the steam out of that last excuse with their FDA-cleared VivaScope®cellular imaging devices.
These new tools allow physicians to biopsy and technicians to evaluate a patient's skin, at and below the skin surface, using imaging rather than surgical options.
Says Hone: "The best medicine with regard to skin cancer is prevention. One should always consider sun protection, apply SPF-30 every day and wear a hat and sunglasses outdoors. The second-best medicine is to consult one's health care provider immediately when one spots anything that might be the least bit questionable. And when a doctor is consulted, ask if they have a noninvasive way to biopsy skin. Doctors should want to provide patients with a painless, noninvasive optical skin biopsy in lieu of the traditional biopsy to help them make a diagnosis."
The company is already marketing its VivaScope systems, including two handheld VivaScopes, the 1500 and 3000, and the VivaScope 2500 for use in the operating room. Another advantage: no waiting. Obtaining the image takes only five to 10 minutes.
"Our technology can image down into the entire lesion, layer by layer, and immediately help doctors eliminate or diagnose a variety of skin diseases and disorders," says Hone.