A FoxNews.com video talks about the excitement behind a handheld tool that could help detect melanoma in patients. Petra Rietschel MD recommends following the ABCD rules of identifying mole problems.
It’s not just a tanning bed that can land patients an appointment at the dermatologist. One in 50 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime, and normally the testing processes involve painful and sometimes unnecessary biopsies. That may not be the truth anymore.
A FoxNews.com video talks about the excitement behind a handheld device that could detect malignant areas on the body. A recent study using the new laser tool yielded a 98 percent accuracy when tested on 1,300 patients.
The device uses a laser that will scan the area and can look through a database to find similar marks. Petra Rietschel MD, an oncologist at Montefiore’s Albert Einstein Cancer Center, recommends that all patients use the ABCD approach when looking at areas for cancer.
The first step, A, stands for asymmetry. When drawing a line through a mole, the right and the left sides should match up. If not, that’s a telltale sign of a problem. Next is border, the outside edges of a mole should be smooth the entire way around. Anything that looks jagged should be looked at by a doctor.
C stands for color. Petra Rietschel MD says the color of any mole should be solid throughout. If there is a mole that is shaded by multiple colors, it is probably time for a checkup. Lastly is the diameter of the mole. If it is bigger than the eraser of a pencil, that may point toward melanoma. Not all symptoms of the ABCD rules need to occur for a mole to be cancer.
Melanoma is a dangerous disease with 76,000 Americans a year diagnosed with the disease and around 10,000 dying from it. Anyone who frequented the beach at any point in their life should pay extra attention: having five or more sunburns in a lifetime doubles the risk of melanoma.
Melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer, however. Petra Rietschel MD says basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are more common than melanoma. Basal cell skin cancer typically forms as a fleshy bump or growth above the waist. Squamous cell skin cancer is more likely to form on areas of the skin exposed to the sun and can show up as red patches of skin.
Petra Rietschel MD is a well-respected researcher in the areas of sarcomas, melanomas and breast cancer. She’s also a board-certified physician in hematology, internal medicine and oncology.