The dermoscope is a special lens that allows to see more features then naked eyes. It is a screening tool to diagnosed melanoma and skin cancers at early stage. Dermoscopy has greatly improved diagnostic accuracy and reduced the need to excise many naevi (moles).
Below are examples of clinical photographs compared with dermascopic images.
Melanoma (Breslow thickness 2.1mm):
Melanoma (Breslow thickness 1.7mm):
Melanoma (Breslow thickness 2.4mm):
If your doctor suspects a spot may be a melanoma, it is removed for testing in a laboratory. This is called a biopsy. This is a quick and simple procedure. A biopsy may be done by your GP, or you may be referred to a dermatologist or surgeon.
A relatively small number of melanoma patients will have to undergo further tests to help identify any evidence of tumour spread to lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. These include:
Patients whose biopsy histology identified thicker tumours (great than 1mm) or demonstrated features associated with increased risk of spread, such as tumour ulceration, high mitotic rate or extensive histologic regression.
Patients who are found to have abnormal findings after a physical examination. This might include enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit, groin or neck regions.
Patients who describe symptoms which might suggest the tumour has spread.