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  • Mole maps lead the way

  • Skin cancer specialist Martin A. Weinstock, MD, PhD, hopes the new MoleMax II machine, one of the first in the country, will help patients detect melanoma early in its course.

    MoleMax II is located in the APC offices of University Dermatologists at Rhode Island Hospital. A set of two digital cameras takes photographs of the skin. One camera gathers microscopic images of specific abnormal moles, while the other gathers images of larger skin surfaces. "Use of this type of microscopic viewing can increase the accuracy of diagnosing melanoma," says Weinstock. "The MoleMax II also allows these images to be printed and kept in the patient's medical record, so we can monitor changes."

    The images of larger skin surfaces, called "mole maps," help familiarize people with their moles. This gives patients a way of examining their own skin to determine if a spot has changed in size, shape or color. "We hope the printouts will encourage patients to conduct monthly self-exams of their skin as well," says Weinstock. "This service is designed for people with multiple moles because they are at a high risk of melanoma and may have difficulty noticing a change."

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