New technology helping diagnose skin problems
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the Valley weather grows hot your skin will soak up more of the sun. This is the time of year when dermatology offices are full.
But there's a time-saving way to get answers for patients worried about what they see on the surface.
Dr. Ken Ellzey, Assistant Physician-in-Chief at Kaiser Permanente medical offices in North Fresno, is taking a picture of a skin spot on Action News anchor Margot Kim's arm to demonstrate Kaiser's Telederm system.
A special camera called a dermatascope has a bright light that can shine through a skin spot or lesion to get a super-focused view of it.
It helps doctors and dermatologists get a first look at a patient's concerns.
Pictures are then uploaded into Kaiser's Healthconnect system that's linked nationwide.
Fresno patient pictures are sent to a special dermatology team in Santa Rosa and a diagnosis can be returned to a Fresno patient in 10-to-30 minutes.
"That's very helpful for patients because you never know, lesions can look terrible and you think they're really worrisome and we can say, it may be cancer but you don't have to worry about it," Dr. Ellzey said. "On the other side, if it's melanoma we want to get to it as quickly as possible."
For patients with skin concerns, the streamlined process can save time because they don't have to make multiple appointments.
If a skin problem is serious patients are sent directly to Kaiser's Fresno dermatology department.
Dr. Ellzey says prevention is key to staying out of the doctor's office. Use broad spectrum sunscreens a sun protection factor of at least 30. Put it on, keep it on and re-apply regularly.
It's a simple step to save your skin - and maybe your life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says melanoma has been on the rise for the last three decades, but if caught early it can be more than ninety-percent treatable.
health watch, margot kim
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