What screening tests are available for melanoma?

Screening is important to help prevent and detect melanoma, so remember to check your skin monthly for any unusual moles, growths, bumps or patches of skin and discuss any abnormalities or concerns with your doctor.

Here is an easy self-check list:

  1. Examine your body in front of a full-length mirror and follow the ABCDEs to help you discover any changes, which may indicate melanoma, including: 
    • A: Asymmetry – if the shape is asymmetrical
    • B: Border – if the border is not smooth, is jagged, raised or appears irregular
    • C: Color – if it begins to change color, become darker or look uneven
    • D: Diameter – if it grows in any way
    • E: Evolving Appearance – if it evolves or changes in appearance in any way
  2. Remember to look at the back of your neck, all around your legs and your feet – including the spaces between your toes. 
  3. Check your scalp, including the area around and behind each ear.
  4. Use a hand-held mirror to examine your buttocks, genitalia and lower back.

3D VECTRA Imaging

If you find abnormalities that your doctor wants to monitor over time, Miami Cancer Institute’s Skin Cancer Clinic offers whole body imaging using the Vectra 3D DermaGraphix whole body imaging system.

This groundbreaking 360-degree body mapping system scans, without radiation, nearly the entire surface of the skin in one instantaneous capture, creating a digital 3D avatar of the patient with images linked to each corresponding lesion on the avatar.

Miami Cancer Institute is the first health system in the southern United States to offer this type of imaging. The detailed images and body map created with this revolutionary new system enables our experts to study and monitor lesions and other skin abnormalities and accurately assess changes over time.

Skin Cancer Screenings

If your doctor thinks you need to be screened for skin cancer, our team will discuss with you what screening tests are best for you and what steps you can take to lower your risk of developing melanoma.

For many patients, screenings include:

Family History Analysis: Many skin tumor types can be inherited. In fact, while melanoma is often caused by sun exposure or exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays, researchers have found that several hereditary syndromes and genes are associated with an increased risk of developing this disease.

Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (RCM):This non-invasive test uses a low-power laser, without radiation or harm to the skin, to create an image of the skin lesion that is similar to a microscopic image obtained by a pathologist in a lab. It is helpful to determine whether a biopsy in cosmetically sensitive or hard-to-reach areas is necessary.

If you see anything that appears suspicious or out of the norm for you, it’s important to check with your primary care doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible.

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