Diagnosing skin cancer has always been complicated: delays can cause major problems, but early detection can save lives. So where’s the technology we’ve all been waiting for that can “read” and diagnose skin, no matter the stage?
Meet DermaSpectra, a major technological revolution in the way doctors can diagnose and monitor skin conditions, including moles, psoriasis, eczema, and lesions. It’s a full-body imaging system that reads and saves the information in your skin, comparing that information to the next time you visit the doctor’s office. Charlotte’s Book approved dermatologist Dr. Mitchell A. Kline is only one of two institutions in the U.S. to be receiving DermaSpectra: his office in New York will have a machine, and the Oregon Health & Science University will be receiving the only other DermaSpectra machine in the U.S.
We spoke to Dr. Kline to get the full download on this high-tech imaging system. Read on, and avoid skin cancer.
CB: WHAT IS DERMASPECTRA IN EASY-TO-UNDERSTAND TERMS?
Dr. Mitchell A. Kline: DermSpectra is a cutting-edge total body digital imaging system that functions like a technically advanced photo booth for the skin. It allows a dermatologist to use modern, standardized methods to visually capture, track, detect and monitor vital skin irregularities that could indicate an underlying health issue or aid in the early detection of skin cancer.
CB: WHY IS IT BETTER THAN A TRADITIONAL SKIN CHECK?
Dr. Mitchell A. Kline: While this would never eliminate the need for a traditional yearly or bi-annual skin check (which is absolutely better than no skin check at all!) the benefit of objective and standardized skin capturing technology is that it helps diminish the chance of human error and subjectivity and allows for the best skin documentation and means for comparison over time.
The truth is, no physician is perfect, no matter how experienced or thorough they are. We use technology to help optimize testing in other areas of medicine, so the skin check should be no different. This is the first time technology has been available to help support this need in the industry.
CB: WHO IS IT FOR?
Dr. Mitchell A. Kline: While anyone can benefit from a DermSpectra screening, it could be especially helpful for those patients with a history of skin cancer or who are considered high-risk (early and accurate detection is critical). Today, experts estimate that 1 in 5 Americans are likely to develop skin cancer in their lifetime with melanoma causing 1 death every hour in the United States. It’s a real concern for many Americans.
Speak to your dermatologist to see if you might be considered high risk for skin cancer. Factors include a history of skin cancer in the family, fair eyes and skin, experience with artificial sun tanning, frequent burning etc.
CB: HOW DOES IT WORK AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Dr. Mitchell A. Kline: A typical DermSpectra screening involves entering the private imaging booth and being guided through a series of standardized repeatable poses while 7 high-resolution (36.7MP) cameras take images of the skin. All of the conditions from the lightening to the body positions help optimize image standardization for the best skin comparison over time. The entire process takes no more than 10-15 minutes.
This “image data” is then stored in a HIPPA-protected computer system. This allows your dermatologist to review and compare image scans over time versus the original baseline. The system also uses precise computer algorithms (the same as those used by the American military and Department of Defense!) to help detect even the smallest changes that might not be immediately evident by the naked eye.
CB: DOES IT COST MORE THAN A TRADITIONAL SKIN CHECK?
Dr. Mitchell A. Kline: DermSpectra is still only available at very few major medical centers in the United States including Kline Dermatology in Manhattan. As a result, it is more expensive than a traditional skin check and is not currently covered by insurance.
That being said, once a baseline scan is completed, subsequent imaging checks may not be needed for another year or 2 years, depending on the patient’s individual profile. For many, this will be an investment that is well worth making.
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