Bella Vista: 02 8824 8088

Mosman: 02 9969 1633

Bella Vista: 02 8824 8088

Mosman: 02 9969 1633

When was your last skin check?

Melanoma is a skin cancer that is known to change over time, often slowly in its initial stages. In contrast, very few normal moles change over a short period of time. This allows doctors to use the technique of short term digital photographic monitoring to aid in the diagnosis of early melanomas.

Digital photographic monitoring of a skin lesion may be recommended by your doctor for lesions that are only marginally atypical and do not fulfil the criteria for performing a biopsy. In this technique, a skin lesion which may appear as a slightly atypical mole on dermoscopic examination is photographed and the image stored on a computer. The patient is then asked to return should a change be noticed, as well as after 3 months, to repeat the photograph. The two images are then compared and if there is a slight change in the lesion then it is excised for biopsy and microscopic analysis (histopathology).

The use of this technique has been shown to improve the diagnostic accuracy for the detection of early melanomas. If your doctor has recommended this method of monitoring it is essential that you remember to return for your 3 monthly follow-up appointment.

Illustrated below is a pigmented lesion at the time of initial examination with clinical and dermoscopic photos, and the same lesion 3 months later. There is a change in the follow-up dermoscopic image. The lesion was excised to reveal an early (in-situ) melanoma. It is difficult to find clear clues to melanoma in either of the images, however, the change observed has allowed the diagnosis to be made.

Did You Know...

Skin cancers account for 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers.

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