A new device to detect early stages of melanoma may help patients with some skin cancers, according to WebMD.
The device, called MelaFind, helps doctors in detecting melanoma and judging whether a biopsy may be necessary. The MelaFind works by scanning the surface of the skin and analyzing skin lesions it finds. Early findings for the MelaFind have been successful—the device only missed 2% of melanomas.
Melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. It grows quickly, but may be treated if found early enough. Doctors who use MelaFind can use the device conjunction with their own training to diagnose patients.
One of the benefits of the device is that when it is successful in detecting melanoma, it can help doctors to discern whether a biopsy is necessary. In the cases where melanomas are not found, patients can avoid unnecessary biopsies.
However, the device was found to have a high false positive rate. But after further examining the lesions, it was found that 90% of the time the lesions were not cancerous.
Despite this fact, the FDA found that the positives of the device in detecting melanomas outweighed the chance for unnecessary biopsies.
Though the MelaFind cannot replace a dermatologist’s trained eye when it comes to detecting melanoma, the makers find that it is a helpful tool for dermatologists.
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