Health reports from NBC4's Dr. Bruce Hensel

High-Tech System Detects Skin Cancer Without Biopsy

The procedure also makes it easier for those who are hesitant about scarring, especially if the mole is in a sensitive area such as the face.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new technology called Viva Scan can both diagnose and screen for skin cancer, quickly and without pain. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports from Venice Beach for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 09, 2014.

    If you live in sunny Southern California and are at risk for skin cancer, there's a new way to check without undergoing a painful biopsy. 

    A new technology called VivaScan allows doctors to diagnose skin cancer using a camera, laser and a high tech microscope.

    Conventional tests require doctors to surgically remove part of the skin tissue to determine whether or not the patient has skin cancer.

    “But (the) majority of these spots when you go to your doctor and have it biopsied they come back benign,” said Dr. Babar Rao the director of NIDI Skin in Beverly Hills.

    Rao can look at the image of the skin cells from the microscope and instantaneously tell the patient right then and there if the mole is cancerous. This then avoids any unnecessary surgical procedures and eliminates any patient anxiety or pain. Patients don’t have to wait a week or two to find out the results. 

    This avoids unnecessary surgical procedures and eliminates patient anxiety and pain. Patients don’t have to wait a week or two to find out the results, but instead find out right away.

    “Patients love it,” Rao said. “With time, people will realize that this is a good first step before we start cutting these moles.”

    The test is not currently covered by insurance and costs around $250.

    Dr. Bruce's advice: Preventing skin cancer should be the goal. Use sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. But remember, sunscreen takes 15 to 20 minutes to be absorbed, so put it on before you head outside.

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