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WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital’s Center for Skin Cancer and Melanoma Offers Comprehensive, Sophisticated Care

The Center for Skin Cancer and Melanoma at WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital is truly a comprehensive collaborative approach to patient care, beginning with the most sophisticated technology available.

The center’s total body photography program started in 2013 for high-risk melanoma patients. To date, more than 2,000 individuals have been imaged. Due to the available advanced specialized care, patients travel from across the country to seek care in the imaging clinic. There are very few centers that utilize total body photography and weave it so intricately into the skin exam.

Canfield Scientific chose the Center for Skin Cancer and Melanoma as a pilot site to trial and implement its Intellistudio total body photography 2D system. The center was actively involved with its advancement and incorporation into patient care.

By incorporating total body photography, the center provides a highly specific way to monitor the skin. When follow-up photos are taken, computer analysis/technician assisted assessment helps identify any newly developed growths, or growths that have enlarged or changed. The images also are stored in the computer for future side-by-side comparison to detect subtle changes in lesion size, shape or color that may indicate early onset of malignancy.

Initial baseline images can be compared with follow-up pictures. This is the most reliable means of accurately tracking changes over time.

Another highly specialized technique used is Digital Dermoscopy. All of the center’s clinicians have attended and have been trained in dermoscopic interpretation of skin cancer hosted by Mayo Clinic and Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Continuing the collaborative approach is the center’s team of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, surgical technicians, medical assistants, and ancillary staff. The center also consults with medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology and other care providers to ensure patients have the highest level and most patient-specific care.

People with aggressive skin cancer and multiple skin cancers require expert treatment. The center stays current on newly published guidelines to ensure patients are being given the most modern and comprehensive care available.

Skin cancer is the most common of all human malignancies, accounting for nearly half of all cancers diagnosed in the world. In the United States, more than 3.5 million basal and squamous cell carcinomas and over 77,000 melanomas occur each year. Melanoma is the most serious variety of skin cancer because it can be deadly if not detected and treated early in its course.

Risk factors for the development of melanoma include: history of melanoma, family history of melanoma, tanning bed use, history of atypical/dysplastic moles, many moles, excessive sun exposure, and organ transplant.

Basal and squamous cell carcinomas, while far more common, are usually not fatal. However,

they can result in larger surgical scars and damage to underlying tissue.