The color of hair and skin for every person is given by the pigment or melanin within the skin. This melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes which are distributed evenly around the body. On occasion though, the melanocytes are not dispersed properly and clusters form. These clusters have high concentrations of melanin, darkening the tissue in that area and are known as moles.
For the most part, moles are not harmful and many people carry on with their lives not thinking too much about them; however, there are certain moles which may be cancerous. Of these moles, a percentage of them lead to melanoma; the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
Moles should be checked regularly to look for any changes which may indicate that there is something wrong with the lesion. There are a few things which should be looked for in particular:
If the answer is yes to any of these questions then a doctor should be seen. As the doctor evaluates the moles based on their appearance and any other symptoms the patient may have, they will often take a biopsy of the mole in question to send off to the lab and have tested to see whether it is cancerous or not.
A biopsy is used to describe the procedure of removing sample tissue in order to test it. The surface of the mole is either shaved, or a punch biopsy is performed where a small circle of tissue is removed. The test results are normally returned in around a week’s time.
MoleMate is a small hand-held device used to produce images of the tissue cells beneath the mole. The system uses light to penetrate the surface of the mole and capture pictures of the cells beneath. This means that there is no need for any incisions to be made on the skin, which could lead to scars and also that patients are able to receive answers to whether or not their moles are benign there and then.
The procedure is pain free, quick, less expensive and accurate. With melanoma claiming thousands of lives every year, medical professionals are excited about this technology as it offers doctors the chance to diagnose the cancer in a quick and efficient manner, which with melanoma, is extremely important as the success rate for cases which are caught in the early stages of the cancer is around 99%.
Features on the device allow images of each mole to be captured, logged and compared. This means that moles can be monitored efficiently and those which are considered to be a higher risk can be watched carefully. The small device could completely tip the balance in the fight against skin cancer.