Adhesive tape helps diagnose melanoma

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 3:31 PM PDT
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Skin cancer has some classic warning signs—change of color, irregular borders, change in appearance.

But some melanomas, the most dangerous of all skin cancers, aren't as obvious. Which means patients often have the lesions cut on and then examined.

“You are looking at their moles and they may have 10 that are really funny looking,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson with the Nevada Center for Dermatology. “And you can test all ten and determine which ones you need to excise and go after.”

But, a new development in melanoma diagnosis has made its way to dermatologists and their patients. It's a skin cancer tape. The kit comes to the doctor's office or even mailed to the patient.

Placed on top of the lesion, the tape pulls and removes cells which are then examined and determined if those cells show one or up to five genetic markers of melanoma. Test results are easy to read with the results showing not likely to very likely skin cancer.

“The company then sends us a report. Whether we need to get them in for an incision or we can leave the lesion alone,” says Lamerson.

Lamerson used the skin tape a handful of times so far. Her first patient used the tape to check a lesion on the stomach that had been around for years. That patient was Dr. Lamerson who was taken aback by the results.

“But we decided to do it and it came back with one out of the five genetic mutations, and I ended up having it excised,” she says.

While these skin strips are new, they are not so new. Insurance companies are picking up the costs.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020