Do you have a lot of freckles or moles?
Have you spent a lot of time in the sun?
If so, you might be at risk for skin cancer.
You’re even more at risk if you have a family history of skin cancer or if you’ve suffered from 3 or more blistering sunburns in your youth. In the last 50 years, incidence of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—have risen 1500%. Luckily, skin cancer is highly curable if caught early.
The cancer specialists of the University of Illinois, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology have combined their renowned skin cancer expertise with the latest digital technology to identify and treat skin cancers before they become life threatening.
UIC is the only healthcare provider in the Midwest using the state-of-the-art Fotofinder digital epiluminescence microscopy system, which has skin scanning, mole mapping, and mole analysis capabilities. The system digitally maps skin lesions for long-term monitoring at regular intervals. NASA-developed algorithms enable software to diagnose melanomas with 93% accuracy. Fotofinder magnifies suspicious lesions to help physicians determine whether biopsy is needed.
What Fotofinder does:
1. Enables immediate, non-invasive analysis of skin lesions using 70-fold magnification.
2. Digitally photographs and stores microscopic and macroscopic images of skin lesions for interval comparisons
3. The Body Scan feature identifies new or changed lesions that have developed between regular scans.
4. The Tuebinger Mole Analyzer software—developed with NASA-developed algorithms at Germany’s renowned Tuebinger University—serves as a second opinion of sorts for our physicians. Using magnification, the software measures borders, textures and color variations of suspicious moles, then compares the data with that of thousands of melanoma images stored in the computer’s database. Though it’s no replacement for biopsy or the experience of our physicians, the Tuebinger analyzer diagnoses melanomas with 93% accuracy.
1. Individuals with numerous moles and freckles
2. Individuals with asymmetrical pigmented lesions or lesions with irregular borders
3. Individuals with lesions in delicate areas, such as the face, who want to avoid biopsy if possible
4. Individuals who have a personal or family history of skin cancer
5. Individuals with dysplastic nevus syndrome
At this time most insurance companies do not classify this service as a payable procedure. Our current charge is $575 and is collected at the time of service. The physician visit before the procedure generally is covered by insurance. If a patient wishes, we will bill insurance on the patient’s behalf, provide a letter of necessity, and any collections from insurance will generate a patient refund of amounts already paid by the patient.
This procedure maximizes the response to the drugs while reducing the side effects experienced by the patients. Patients with disease limited to the arms or legs present a particular problem. Control of the disease can be very difficult. The Division of Surgical Oncology uses a procedure that is only available in limited sites called isolated perfusion. This is a technique that combines heat with high doses of chemotherapy delivered to the tumor sites while minimizing the amount of chemotherapy delivered to the rest of the body. This technique increases the response rate to the chemotherapy and can save the involved limb. It is often combined with other surgery and sometimes radiation therapy. The principles involved in the response have also been applied to the abdominal cavity. After undergoing excision of all the sites of cancer the abdominal cavity is bathed in a heated solution of chemotherapy. The abdomen does not absorb a large amount of the chemotherapy, allowing the use of high doses of chemotherapy. At the conclusion of the perfusion in both cases, the chemotherapy is washed out to limit the effect on the rest of the body.
In the Division of Surgical Oncology, we believe that the way to find better methods of treating cancer is to coordinate patient care with laboratory research. This approach has produced innovative clinical studies that have improved patient treatment methods. Our physicians make important discoveries in the war against cancer, analyze the information gathered in their treatment and research activities, and train the health professionals and scientists of tomorrow. One of the most important objectives of the Division is to bring to the patient the observations and advances made in the laboratories.
Our Division has membership in national cooperative clinical trials groups bringing together thousands of oncology specialists to collaborate in clinical research studies. These groups include Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) and American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG). The wealth of knowledge shared by these groups brings to our patients the most advanced treatment options currently available.