MelaFind Optical Scanner
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer that an individual can develop and if not found early, is often fatal. In the United States alone, melanoma kills an estimated 10,130 people each year.
The melanoma cancer cells develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Too much skin exposure is what causes the mutation of the skin cells. Melanoma will often times present itself as a mole, or develop from existing moles. Because melanoma can appear to be just another mole, it is important to have moles regularly checked by a physician.
The MelaFind Optical Scanner is a tool that dermatologists can utilize to better analyze a suspicious mole before actually taking a biopsy of the mole. A biopsy is a common procedure to determine whether a patient has skin cancer. However, for individuals who end up not having skin cancer they now have a scar from the biopsy. While it is arguably better to have a scar, then have a cancerous mole, if technology can provide a way to avoid an unnecessary biopsy, then it is a technology worth looking into.
The MelaFind is a handheld device that will be used to provide a better tool for detection since the only way to determine if a biopsy is needed is a visual test by the doctor. The MelaFind device is not meant to diagnose the skin sample; rather it is used to determine whether a biopsy should be used for the patient. The goal of the MelaFind is to reduce how many individuals have biopsies; so fewer individuals have unnecessary biopsies and associated scars.