You know it, your skin is the largest organ in your body, but did you know that more people will develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than those that will develop lung cancer because of smoking? I hear you saying, “Well, I don’t go to tanning salons so I’m good.” Not so fast. As a matter of fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the number one cancer diagnosis with more cases each year than all other types of cancer combined. So, how can you make sure you don’t become a statistic?
Glad you asked, when diagnosed early, most skin cancers can be effectively treated, and it can make the difference between life and death. A new advanced technology at the Miami Cancer Institute can make skin cancer a thing of the past. What exactly does it do?
If you’ve ever been to a dermatologist and have gotten a full skin examination, you know that it’s a tedious and sometimes uncomfortable process. They have to look at your body inch by inch to identify any potential problems. Well, this machine called the Vectra WB360 3D takes a complete, super ultra-high definition picture of your whole body from every angle using 92 cameras in just a couple of seconds. How is it better?
The patient walks in with minimal clothing, they are instructed to put their arms in a T-shaped position like a scarecrow and presto! In only one image, more than 95% of your body is photographed. All these images are combined and stitched together by the system to create a 3D model or avatar of you. Once the doctors are looking at you in 3D, they can easily pinch and zoom incredibly close on any individual mole to make it the size of the whole screen. Using the Vectra’s DermaGraphix software, the doctors can carefully examine, identify, mark, tag and monitor lesions on your skin so they can be tracked over time. What’s the big deal with all of this, aren’t they just a bunch photographs after all?
Well, there are actually a few cool things happening here. First, having one big image makes it a lot easier to identify all the lesions, moles, their shapes, if they are symmetric or asymmetric, colors and if they can become cancerous. The software helps the doctor identify them but most importantly, add them to the patient’s chart to track them over time to see how they are developing.
These machines are manufactured by Canfield and they are so new that only about a dozen are installed around the world with only six in the entire United States. The only one in all of the southern US is now up and running at the Miami Cancer Institute.
This technology makes it a lot easier for doctors and patients to stay on top of skin lesions that can become cancerous and can act as a very effective early warning system against skin cancer. I’m still wearing sunscreen but I’m glad to have it in our back yard.