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Revolutionary DermTech Test Can Help Detect Melanoma Early

Revolutionary DermTech Test Can Help Detect Melanoma Early

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and melanoma is the most dangerous form. Thankfully, getting a melanoma diagnosis doesn’t have to lead to a worst-case scenario. 

With early detection, melanoma that hasn’t spread to other parts of the body has a 99% five-year survival rate. So, how can you make sure this disease is detected as early as possible?

Ali Hendi, MD, and his team of skin cancer specialists in Chevy Chase, Maryland, are experts in using DermTech technology. This technology is very accurate in detecting the presence of melanoma, and with early detection, you can significantly increase your odds of long-term skin health and survival.

In this blog, Dr. Hendi explains more about what melanoma is and how DermTech testing can help.

Melanoma basics

Melanoma is a cancer that starts in your melanocytes, or the cells that produce pigment (melanin). While the exact cause isn’t known, the biggest risk factors include extensive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds.

Other risk factors for melanoma include:

Melanoma often shows up as a mole that’s changed or as a new or unusual-looking growth on the skin. A mole that’s jagged, larger than 6 millimeters, or asymmetrical could be a sign of melanoma. Melanoma growths may also itch or bleed.

How the DermTech melanoma test works

Melanoma detection often involves removing the suspicious mole with a scalpel or circular blade. While this process can be effective, it’s more invasive and less thorough than the DermTech Smart StickerTM. This advanced DermTech tool gently lifts cells from the surface of the mole, no incisions required. 

While pressed briefly on the mole, the “stickers” gather the skin’s genomic material, which is then tested for cancer. This negates the need for a traditional biopsy. 

The DermTech process may involve two laboratory tests: the pigmented lesion assay (PLA) test and a “plus” test, which is an add-on for any remaining genomic material.

Accuracy is high with the DermTech melanoma test

The DermTech test sees 10,000 times deeper into your cells than a microscope and covers nearly the entire surface of the mole. This makes for a very high detection rate — upwards of 99% — for melanoma. A biopsy, on the other hand, usually evaluates about 1-2% of the mole. Meanwhile, research has linked some biopsies with only a 42% melanoma detection rate.

If your DermTech results come back positive for melanoma, Dr. Hendi and his team will recommend the treatment that will best suit your needs. If the test leads to an early diagnosis, there’s a good chance you won’t need a highly invasive treatment. 

To learn more about early melanoma detection or to ask about any of our other skin care services, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.

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