Coping with COVID-19: Tips and Tools for Enhancing Virtual Skin Cancer Exams image

Dermatologists across the country have shut their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, and little certainty remains about when they will reopen for business as usual. Many are still seeing patients with aggressive squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, but these patients need to be effectively triaged before coming into the office.

It can be difficult to know with certainty if moles are aggressive by looking at photos or doing a video exam, which is why Orit Markowitz, MD, FAAD, Director of Pigmented Lesions and Skin Cancer and Associate Professor of Dermatology Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, developed her own protocol for assessing skin cancers virtually.

Dr. Markowitz suggests teledermatology patients purchase two relatively inexpensive tools to help augment the diagnostic process including a dermatoscope that attaches to a smartphone such as DermLite’s HÜD Home Dermatoscope and a clinician-supervised home tape stripping pigmented lesion assay for Melanoma (the DermTech PLA ), which can be sent to a lab and read within 72 hours. Taken together, these tests and the results they provide may prevent patients from unnecessarily going to the hospital during the pandemic while significantly increasing the accuracy of early melanoma detection. Dr. Markowitz shares more of her telemedicine protocols in this episode of Coping with COVID-19.

Photo Credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders