Worried about mole mapping? Dermatologists have a new weapon.

13 10 skin cancer mole mapping melanoma freckles

With one in six Canadians developing skin cancer during his or her lifetime, the severe shortage of dermatologists is a frightening reality. There is one dermatologist per 68,000 people, while 50 per cent of practising dermatologists are more than 55 years of age.

Skin cancer is exploding. “The majority of skin cancers are non-melanoma skin cancers, squamous and basal cell skin cancers, which can be treated. But melanoma skin cancer kills, so the key with melanoma skin cancer is early detection, “ says Dr. Sheetal Sapra, MD, FRCPC, dermatologist at the Institute of Cosmetic Laser and Surgery in Oakville, Ont. He has been using the Aura, a tool that helps test for skin cancer, since March 2013 in his clinic.

“As a dermatologist, if you have a patient with a few moles and they begin changing, you can easily see it. But, if you have a patient with 40 to 50 funny moles (dysplastic nevus syndrome), what do you do? You can use a dermatoscope, a magnifier, to look for melanoma, yet

if he or she has 60 plus moles on the body, sometimes the only verifiable option is to cut them out,” explains Dr. Sapra. The disadvantages: “you have to wait two weeks before you get test results, there is risk of infection and patients get scars.” Scarring becomes especially problematic with moles on the face.

“This is where the Aura helps as a tool. Since it is very sensitive it won’t miss melanoma skin cancer. Plus, Aura sets the biopsy bar low by instantly showing if a lesion is benign. This gives immediate relief to my patients and helps avoids unneccesary procedures. But most of all, I can test things that couldn’t be tested before without leaving a scar.”