New tool helps dermatologists detect melanomas

Published 08/01 2014 06:24PM

Updated 08/01 2014 06:53PM

Fayetteville (WSYR-TV) – There is a new tool for dermatologists that helps detect melanoma at its most curable stage. There's only 150 MelaFind machines in the country and one of them is right here in Central New York.

The machine uses a digital camera to record skin patches, and examine cells below the skin's surface.

"It has 7 wavelengths of light. It adds to the evaluation of your eyeball and improves the odds of detecting a melanoma earlier. The earlier you can identify and treat a melanoma, the more likely you can improve survival statistics," says Dr. Denis Branson, a plastic surgeon in Fayetteville and the only owner of a MelaFind machine in CNY.

The MelaFind takes photos of lesions. Those photos taken are compared against thousands of malignant and benign skin images. Within seconds, Branson can see whether skin cancer is likely.

Haleigh Lamontagne is a NewsChannel 9 intern. She goes to the dermatologist once a year to get her moles checked out. She's already had one mole removed, and she likes to make sure nothing's changed.

Branson uses the MelaFind machine on Lamontagne.

"This is giving you a score of .93. This is a level worth keeping an eye on but not a level we need to biopsy," says Dr. Branson. "In patients with multiple lesions, it helps assess how aggressive you need to be in treatment, and it helps provide sanity for the doctor and patient in terms of comfort."

As for Lamontagne, she'll continue her yearly screenings, and is hopeful this new technology will help patients like herself breathe easier.

Click here for more information on MelaFind.

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