Could MelaFind Save 8000 Lives Next Year?

K. Mathews on 2 Nov 2011 at 4:00pm

The American Cancer Society estimates that 8,790 people will die from melanoma in 2011. That’s a shocking number considering that it’s 100% curable if detected early enough. Fortunately, the FDA recently pre-approved a new device that may help dermatologists identify this cancer in its initial stages.

This potentially lifesaving device is called MelaFind. MelaFind takes pictures of skin growths, which a computer then analyzes for hints of cancer. With this analysis, dermatologists know which worrisome parts to perform biopsies on, particularly areas that may not be otherwise noticed by the naked eye.

By examining these high-risk areas, doctors are more likely to spot melanoma early, which is key to winning the battle. When undetected, melanoma can be fatal, accounting for nearly 75% of deaths from skin cancer.

According to Dr. Susan Weinkle, president of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, “Rates of the disease are on the rise, especially in younger women. Early detection is our only chance for survival, and MelaFind has the potential to have a deep impact on this disease.”

However, even better than detection is prevention. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen!

lesion removal skin cancer

Photo credits: MelaFind; Dr. David Mabrie