Total Body Photography and Digital Monitoring Services
As a visual aid for dermatologists, total body photography provides improved evaluation of patients who are prone to suffer from melanoma. The risks involved with melanoma can be dramatically reduced if the disease is diagnosed early, with photography and digital monitoring, often described as ‘mole mapping’, playing a significant role in cancer prevention. This is especially the case for patients with numerous moles that require ongoing observation.
Early detection of change in moles and lesions is a key component in diagnosis and cure of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Advances in medical science and technology have resulted in the development of imaging systems capable of digitally monitoring moles and lesions as they change over time. A dermatologist can analyse dermatoscopy pictures, compare images, and even use computer-aided diagnosis for confirmation when regular moles are changing into potential melanoma.
Early diagnosis of melanoma
Total body photography/digital monitoring, as an adjunct to other therapies, provides a thorough medical history record. As with any disease, a patient’s medical record is the first thing a doctor will peruse prior to embarking on curative measures. Early recognition of melanoma can be challenging as melanoma in its fledgling state is often indistinguishable from benign growths. Detecting new lesions and following up changes occurring in established lesions is an invaluable advantage appreciated by patients and professionals at Pymble Dermatology.
In their quest to ensure melanoma doesn’t occur, dermatologists in the past have tended to remove benign moles as a precautionary measure. In fact, for every malignant melanoma removed, hundreds of benign lesions are also sacrificed. Biopsies remain an essential procedure for evaluating the condition of skin lesions, although time and resources are undoubtedly wasted when procedures are inadequate for the task at hand. At Pymble Dermatology, digital monitoring is a dermatological game-changer.
It’s important to understand that total body photography/digital monitoring isn’t a substitute for expert medical intervention. Dermatologists use the technology to assist in making educated decisions. Ongoing mole and lesion monitoring provides the opportunity for early diagnosis of melanoma or other skin cancers, and decisive medical judgements can be made with confidence. The technology is a dermatology essential for understanding and mapping changes to the skin, while providing accurate data for doctors and instilling trust in patients.
Biopsies are invaluable for increasing the chances of survival. The information relayed by dermatologists is quickly analysed, with the feedback determining the next steps in fighting melanoma. Total body photography/digital monitoring facilitates the viewing of lesion changes from the outset and removal of melanomas while they are still thin. Once a melanoma reaches deeper into the skin it is much harder to treat, so any technology that aids survival is a great step forward for both patients and doctors.
Digital Monitoring for increased patient satisfaction
Patients enduring skin problems and skin diseases are understandably distressed and looking for answers. Many dermatologists believe total body photography reduces patient stress and anxiety by promoting a positive involvement in the healing process. The data-based approach means patients have information on-hand, when they need it, allowing them to become more involved in their own care. In any case, it’s usually the patient or close family member who first notices the melanoma, and photographic data is a useful way to confirm any changes in moles or lesions, even while at home.
Digital monitoring is a relatively new procedure and there has been some scepticism regarding its ability to treat cancer. It’s worth noting, however, that ‘change’ is the major determining factor used when assessing moles and lesions, and the sooner any change is noticed, the sooner it can be monitored, mapped or removed if necessary.
Dermatologists at Pymble Dermatology liaise with the Melanoma Institute of Australia for arrangement of total body photography for our patients.