NEW ORLEANS — Many of us know someone who has had a mole or spot removed to check it for skin cancer.
Now, there’s a new test for melanoma that looks like a BAND-AID that doesn’t require any cutting. And it's available here in New Orleans.
In so many ways, Rose Brown is a typical kindergartener, but it's not typical that at her age, she had a skin cancer scare.
"I mean, it was upsetting. It's a five-year-old having possible melanoma. It’s heart breaking, you know?" Courtney Brown said about her daughter Rose.
A spot on her cheek, originally thought to be a mosquito bite, started looking suspicious in March. Then by May, it looked worse.
"I was getting black. I don't have it anymore," Rose said.
Before doing a biopsy, Rose's mom Courtney turned to dermatologist Dr. Cole Claiborne for a new diagnostic procedure, the DermTech Adhesive Skin Collection Kit.
It's simple. Dr. Claiborne puts the patches over the lesion like a BAND-AID, then pulls them off. They are sent to a lab that analyzes the genetic material in the cells, looking for two cancer-causing genes.
"If linc is positive, the patient has a 7% risk of melanoma. If brame is positive, it's a 50% chance that the lesion is melanoma. If both of them are positive, you have a 93% chance of that lesion being a melanoma," explained Dr. Claiborne of MD Claiborne and Associates.
A later biopsy showed Rose has a spitz nevus, a benign lesion that has a 7% chance of becoming melanoma one day, so her parents are looking into having it surgically removed.
"It was a lot of relief to see that she didn't have some of the gene's that could have lead up to something more scary,” Courtney Brown said. “It was definitely a scare, but I think it brought a lot of awareness to us.”
And that awareness also brought on the diligent use of sunscreen now, all the time.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is on the rise, especially in young adults because of the use of tanning beds.
For more on the patch, click here.