Melanoma Detection

We pride ourselves on the thoroughness and expertise of our full body exams when screening for skin cancer. We have specialized training in the use of a dermatoscope, a tool used to minimize biopsies and detect early melanomas.

Anyone can get melanoma. It's an aggressive form of cancer, so early detection is critical. By performing thorough self-skin exams each month and visiting your dermatologist every year for a professional exam, you'll be one step ahead in catching melanoma early.


Dermoscopy is a method of skin examination that utilizes an optical instrument with a light source. The instrument allows visualization of pigmentation patterns and skin structures that are deeper than can be seen with the naked eye. It is most useful for the early diagnosis of malignant melanoma and to differentiate melanoma from other pigmented lesions. A dermoscope increases diagnostic accuracy in the hands of an experienced, trained physicians.

Did you know studies show that your dermatologist can detect a melanoma only:

• 60% of the time with an unaided eye***
• 80% of the time with dermoscopy overall*
   - 70% of the time with melanomas that are pink and not brown with dermoscopy**
   - 40% of the time with small melanomas with dermoscopys*****
   - 70% of the time by inexperienced physicians with dermoscopy****
   - 90% of the time with five years' experience with dermoscopy****

Studies show that dermoscopy is important. They also show that the more experienced the provider performing the exam, the better the detection rate.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is detection not 100%?

A: Unlike other specialties, we do not have scans or radiographic imaging available to aid in the detection of skin cancer.

Q: Isn't melanoma deadly if you don't catch it early?

A: Yes! Early detection is key! Just getting a skin exam may not be enough.

Q: What can I do as a patient to increase the chance of finding an early, more curable melanoma?

A: We ask that you become an active participant in your healthcare by performing self-exams monthly. Studies show that patients who perform self-exams have an increased chance of detecting melanoma early, especially when combined with experienced professional exams.

* Rosendahl C. et al. Diagnostic accuracy of dermoscopy for melanocytic and non-melanocytic pigmented lesions. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Jun; 64 {6):1068-73.
** Menzies SW. et al. Dermoscopic evaluation of amelanotic and hypomelanotic melanoma. Arch Dermatol. 2008 Sep; 144 (9):1120-7.
*** Kittler H. et al. Diagnostic accuracy of dermoscopy. Lancet Oncology. 2002 Mar; 3 {3):159-65.
**** Piccalo D. et al. Dermoscopic diagnosis by a trained clinician vs. a clinician with minimal dermoscopy training vs. computer-aided diagnosis of 341 pigmented lesions; a comparative study. Br. J. Dermatol. 2002; 147:481-486.
***** Friedman, R.J., et al. The diagnostic performance of expert dermoscopists vs. a computer-vision system on small -diameter melanomas. Arch Dermatol. 2008; 144:476-482.
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