High-tech device can detect melanoma without cutting the skin - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

High-tech device can detect melanoma without cutting the skin

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Diagnosing melanoma can be tricky as cancer can sometimes appear to be common moles.  Now doctors have a high-tech tool to help them diagnose melanoma without cutting into the skin.

Doctor Jorge Garcia sees patients with skin cancer almost daily.  It's his specialty and finding it early saves lives.  So when this new device, called 'MelaFind', became available he had to be one of the first to use it.  "The software has over 10,000 images of melanoma in there, so by creating this three dimensional picture the computer creates an algorithm and compares this images with the melanoma pictures," said Dr. Garcia-Zuazaga.  A study showed it identified melanoma 98 percent of the time.  

"I've had this mole forever but it's changed a little bit and I was worried about it," said Kelly Phillips.  Doctor Garcia's medical assistant, Kelly Phillips is among the first patients to be tested.  The device takes a picture of her mole and gives Dr. Garcia a second opinion.  "When you're kind of in between and you're not really sure about when to take out a mole this will give you another diagnostic tool.  A little bit more information to make the decision," said Dr. Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga.  'MelaFind' gives info without cutting the skin.  "Pinpointing those people with a lot of moles that in maybe sensitive locations that will rather have this service before you actually do a biopsy and save a scar," said Dr. Garcia-Zuazaga.  It's ideal for patients with a lot of moles or a history of melanoma.

The FDA approved device is not yet covered by insurance.  Expect about 125 dollars out of pocket.  "A very small fee for something that will give you peace of mind," said Dr. Garcia-Zuazaga.  "It eased my mind actually I was worried and it's a painless experience," said Phillips.

Melanoma is the most common cancer in women ages 15 to 29 and often it shows up in the legs.

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