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Dermoscopy?

Forums Cutaneous Melanoma Community Dermoscopy?

  • Post
    Michelle820
    Participant

      Hello all, just curious if anyone owns a dermoscope? Would you think it helps during exams? I have been told by my specialist, that I have a lot of "funny looking moles". Ughhh. He insists that my husband help me with my monthly skin checks-which he does-however, I don't think he gets the importance. I'm thinking of purchasing my own dermoscope. 

      If you own one, any specific brand that's recommended? I understand they can be pricey but if it helps calm my nerves it's worth it in my opinion. Also, I have seen them as an attachment to an iPhone. ???

      thank you for your input:)

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    • Replies
        Janner
        Participant

          It's basically a lighted magnifying glass.  Or a lighted loupe if you prefer.  Seems like no need to buy an expensive one.  Most of us just compare skin against photos.  The only time I've used a magnifying glass is when I noticed something that didn't jive with a photo and wanted to compare closer.  Do what makes you comfortable.

          Janner
          Participant

            It's basically a lighted magnifying glass.  Or a lighted loupe if you prefer.  Seems like no need to buy an expensive one.  Most of us just compare skin against photos.  The only time I've used a magnifying glass is when I noticed something that didn't jive with a photo and wanted to compare closer.  Do what makes you comfortable.

            BillMFl
            Participant

              I have found both of my mm's and many sq's and bc's myself. All you need is a strong magnifying glass. If you suspect a lesion to be mm, smear a drop of baby oil on it and look at ot closely with the glass. An insitu mm will often have little dark beads seemingly floating up from below. A more advanced mm will look like the usual pictures on cancer sites with the ABCD's of color, irregular shape, etc. Usually by the time they look like that you don't need magnification to know they are suspicious. Using magnification is most helpful with early lesions that don't yet have the obvious traits. Putting some oil on the lesion (including flat macules) allow you to see a little past the skin's surface. And as I said before, seeing tiny black dots at varying depths is a very good clue for an early biopsy. Both times I was told by the Derm that my insitu was probably nothing but because of many other skin cancers they would play it safe and biopsy. Both times I was right. The moral of the story is don't wait for ant lesion to get big and ugly. However, my very first trip to a Derm, when I had zero experience was for what turned out to be a knarly looking keratosis on my right shoulder. Totally benign. As luck would have the Derm, good that you came inn because the pink bump on your other shoulder is a nice fat basil cell. Thus began my 30 some year journy to the Derm and at least 40 bcc and sq skin cancers. I have has two MOHS procedures and two WLE's and rarely go 6 months without something. I have just completed 6 weeks of Efudex on my scalp and ears to remove precancerous lessions that were too numerous to freeze.  Happily I will be 75 in April and plan to keep on rolling along until I run out of skin or money!  All joking aside, you are smart to know all your moles, etc. Know their sizes, shapes and colorization and go to the Derm when you see obvious changes. Normal skin is usually not shiny. Watch for pearlescent bumps, or bleeding or scaling patches as signs of bcc's or sqc's. They are not as dangerous but can still be an issue. I lost the tip of my nose to a basil cell that was only a tiny bump on the surface but had grown deep and wide beneath.  My graft died and turned black and had to be abraided foir months until it finally healed.  Well this old man has rattled on long enough! But I totally support your belief in a magnifying glass. It won't takes you long to learn what the various types of lesions can look like. Point them out to your Derm and have them explain what you are looking at. With a little practice you will do like me. I point and they snip and I'm rarely wrong.

              BillMFl
              Participant

                I have found both of my mm's and many sq's and bc's myself. All you need is a strong magnifying glass. If you suspect a lesion to be mm, smear a drop of baby oil on it and look at ot closely with the glass. An insitu mm will often have little dark beads seemingly floating up from below. A more advanced mm will look like the usual pictures on cancer sites with the ABCD's of color, irregular shape, etc. Usually by the time they look like that you don't need magnification to know they are suspicious. Using magnification is most helpful with early lesions that don't yet have the obvious traits. Putting some oil on the lesion (including flat macules) allow you to see a little past the skin's surface. And as I said before, seeing tiny black dots at varying depths is a very good clue for an early biopsy. Both times I was told by the Derm that my insitu was probably nothing but because of many other skin cancers they would play it safe and biopsy. Both times I was right. The moral of the story is don't wait for ant lesion to get big and ugly. However, my very first trip to a Derm, when I had zero experience was for what turned out to be a knarly looking keratosis on my right shoulder. Totally benign. As luck would have the Derm, good that you came inn because the pink bump on your other shoulder is a nice fat basil cell. Thus began my 30 some year journy to the Derm and at least 40 bcc and sq skin cancers. I have has two MOHS procedures and two WLE's and rarely go 6 months without something. I have just completed 6 weeks of Efudex on my scalp and ears to remove precancerous lessions that were too numerous to freeze.  Happily I will be 75 in April and plan to keep on rolling along until I run out of skin or money!  All joking aside, you are smart to know all your moles, etc. Know their sizes, shapes and colorization and go to the Derm when you see obvious changes. Normal skin is usually not shiny. Watch for pearlescent bumps, or bleeding or scaling patches as signs of bcc's or sqc's. They are not as dangerous but can still be an issue. I lost the tip of my nose to a basil cell that was only a tiny bump on the surface but had grown deep and wide beneath.  My graft died and turned black and had to be abraided foir months until it finally healed.  Well this old man has rattled on long enough! But I totally support your belief in a magnifying glass. It won't takes you long to learn what the various types of lesions can look like. Point them out to your Derm and have them explain what you are looking at. With a little practice you will do like me. I point and they snip and I'm rarely wrong.

                  Michelle820
                  Participant

                    Thank you for your input! I appreciate it:) I also have had 5-6 Basel cell cancers. I also just finished using Zyclara on the side of my nose and on three spots on my right arm:/ ughhhh that is NOT fun! My in situ was a tiny black dot that slowly grew. Definitely the ugly ducking sign that caught my eye. It's embarrassing that my derm visits were for "problem visits" and never for a check up. So I'm starting backwards….have my baseline photos and now understand importance of monthly exams. 

                    I am definitely looking into getting a good magnifying glass or cheap scope for my cell phone. It is so overwhelming and now want most of my worrisome moles off-even though I know I can't do that.  There are two, however, that I am requesting to be removed. I have learned my lesson for sure regarding the sun-at the age of 43. Just depressing once the summer comes around and I will be worriedabout too much exposure.  I have young kids who play outside and swim.

                    Thanks again for your help:) wish you the best!

                    BillMFl
                    Participant

                      Thank you too! Do you know about Solumbra? It is a line of clothing that provides a nearly complete sun block. They have nice looking shirts, jackets etc that will cover you from head to toe if you wish. The clothes have mesh vents for air circulation and are casual/sporty looking. They are not cheap but they are well worth it. Wearing their line of hats and shirts means you only need to lather up your face and hands and legs if you don't like their pants. Most of their gear is comparable to Ll Bean casual wear and does not look nerdy. Check them out online and they will send a free catalogue.

                      barb3246
                      Participant

                        I just noticed a tiny (1mm) spot on my upper breast that I never noticed before. It just looks like a dark brown dot, but under a magnifying glass I see a very dark brown/black line and a couple of dark brown/black dots on the edge.  I just had a skin check a month ago but I don't know if that was there at the time or if he even noticed it. It didn't really look suspicious until I looked thru the magnifying glass. I don't know if I should call his office and try to have it looked at, or if I should just wait and watch it for a few weeks to see if it changes?  Or is the sppearance under magnification sound suspicious enough to call right away even if it doesn't change? Does the tiny size matter? None of my other moles look this this one when magnified.   I'm not sure why it even caught my attention and made me want to inspect it closer.  My next skin check is is 2 months – I have had 2 MM in-situs, 4 severes and lots of mild/moderate atypia. I don't want the doc to think I'm paranoid since I was just there, but I don't want to be stupid either. Any advice would be appreciated.   BillMFI or Janner?

                        jennunicorn
                        Participant
                          NED

                          Something new, in my opinion, is just as important to get checked as something changing, especially having had more than one mel and multiple atypicals. It's always better to be safe than sorry. It may just be atypical so don't worry too much, but give the derm office a call, see when you can get in to get it checked out, and go from there.

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