World’s Smallest Detected Skin Cancer

skin cancer

A skin cancer that was practically invisible to the naked eye has been successfully diagnosed, earning the medical team a Guinness World Record. Furthermore, it implies that patient Christy Staats’ skin cancer was detected at an early stage before it had a chance to spread.

Staats said in a statement,

I believe it is possible for everyone to be as lucky as me with the right technology,

If they can find mine when it’s so early, it is a no-brainer that this technology can help other people.

Dr. Alexander Witkowski, an assistant professor at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, examined the skin lesion using a variety of procedures. He used a dermatoscope, which functions as a magnifying glass, to provide professionals with a closer look at the affected skin. Dr. Witkowski used this in conjunction with reflectance confocal microscopy, a precise, noninvasive imaging technology, to diagnose micro-melanoma in situ.

A team of clinicians and scientists used staining and molecular testing to confirm the diagnosis following a sample.

Dr. Witkowski said,

What our team accomplished together embodies my personal mission statement: ‘Catch the inevitable, early

The cancer measured just 0.65 millimeters (0.025 inches). However, it rang many bells.

He further explained,

I took a picture of the spot […] then performed additional imaging with reflectance confocal microscopy (virtual biopsy) which showed atypical cells concerning for melanoma. I told Christy right there at the bedside, ‘I think this could be the smallest skin cancer ever detected.

Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Dr Sancy Leachman further added to the case and said,

truly demonstrates the power of new technology to identify potentially dangerous spots early.

“Smallest Detected Skin Cancer”

Melanomas like this only account for 1% of all cancers. However, they cause multiple, disproportionate deaths.

Dr. Leachman said,

This was a team effort – we used skin imaging and technology to improve the early diagnosis of melanoma,

It took everyone on the team – dermatologists, dermatopathologists, and dermatologic surgeons. It’s an incredible thing when you have an entire team able to work together to help patients.

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Dr. Armash Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor's degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is skilled in general dentistry and is an experienced medical content writer. Her future plans are to work for the betterment of dentistry for the underprivileged in Pakistan, apply for postgraduation, and specialize in Paediatric Dentistry.


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