New pain-free technology detects skin cancer in a minute

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An easier and faster way to check suspicious moles known as MelaFind is replacing painful biopsies. (KABC)

The beach, the pool and the bed are just a few of the many places to get a tan. Deb Fischer used to know them all.

"I tanned like it was my job. I would lay out on my roof. I would lay on tin foil, baby oil. I would go to the tan beds," Fischer said.

But all that sun exposure put Fischer's health at risk. At 21, she was diagnosed with melanoma. Since then, she's had dozens of biopsies to check if other moles were cancerous.

"I have scars all over my body. I probably have at least 40 scars," Fischer said.

Now, there's an easier, pain-free way to check suspicious moles, called MelaFind.

"It really helps us decide which lesions need to be biopsied," said Dr. Philip Bailin, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic.

The test takes less than a minute. The scanner transmits 10 different wavelengths of light into the skin and takes an image of the patient's mole. That image is compared to others in a database of more than 10,000 lesions.

"It's about 98 percent sensitive and that's far more sensitive than the average dermatologist," Bailin said.

If MelaFind shows that a patient has a high probability for melanoma, he or she will still need a biopsy to confirm that the lesion is cancerous. The database is constantly being updated, and new images are added from patients all over the country.

"The patients are very thankful for this. It saves them biopsies," Bailin said.

Fischer now wears sunscreen every day. As a dermatology nurse, she also educates others about the risks of skin cancer.

"I am a huge proponent of prevention," Fischer said.

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healthhealthy livinghealthskin cancerskin care
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