Non-Invasive Skin Cancer Detection

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – UConn Health Center is now offering a new, non-invasive approach to detecting skin cancer.

This is a laser imaging tool looks at the skin at the cellular level and for the patient, it could mean avoiding a biopsy

Patients like Nancy Riccio are monitored closely. She has scars on her right forearm and forehead where doctors removed skin cancer cells.

“I have basal cells removed two years ago. When I was a teenager, I baked out in the sun with the baby oil,” said Riccio.

A two centimeter mole is getting a closer look by Medical Assistant Jody D’Antonio at the UConn Health Center, but this time using the latest technology.

“What I want to do is confocal it to see if there are any abnormal cells underneath,” said D’Antonio.

A confocal microscopy takes ultrasound images of the layers of the skin to detect skin cancer. There’s no incision to get a sample of the tissue, versus a biopsy which is a more painful procedure.

skin cancer

“You feel it pulling and tugging. You see your skin coming off,” said D’Antonio.

“My goal is to not biopsy a mole, but biopsy a melanoma.  I want to hit pay dirt.  I don’t want to hurt them for nothing. There’s nothing that replaces the biopsy, but it does eliminate some lesions and it tells me that some lesions don’t need to be biopsied,” said Dr. Jane Grant-Kels, Chair of Dermatology.

No pain, no scar and quicker results.       

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