Telluride Med Center: New Skin Cancer Screening Tool

Telluride Med Center: New Skin Cancer Screening Tool

Early skin cancer detection saves lives. Last month the Telluride Regional Medical Center added a new tool to its arsenal to aid in early diagnosis during regular primary care visits.

Dr. Kent Gaylord examines Amy Tokarz with a new skin cancer screening tool. Courtesy photo.

Dr. Kent Gaylord examines Amy Tokarz with a new skin cancer screening tool. Courtesy photo.

With funding from the Telluride Medical Center Foundation, a dermascope has been added to the medical center’s quiver and should enable providers to better diagnose skin cancers and differentiate benign skin lesions from malignant ones.

The tool, according to Dr. Kent Gaylord, a primary care provider trained to use the dermascope, is essentially is a magnified lens with a polarized light source that allows practitioners to magnify lesions and also look past the upper surface of the skin to see down into the dermis.

“Looking at a mole with the naked eye can be like trying to see the bottom of lake without polarized sunglasses,” said  Gaylord, who recently received special training for the dermascope.

Primary care providers expect to diagnose skin cancers at earlier more treatable stages, and also differentiate benign skin lesions from malignant ones, which could help patients avoid unnecessary skin biopsies and visits to specialized providers in Montrose, Durango, Grand Junction, or further away.

Eric Johnson, nurse practitioner and Primary Care Practice Manager at the
Telluride Regional Medical Center, recommends annual skin screenings for everyone living in Telluride.

“We are physically closer to the sun, and there is more ultraviolet light. Particularly in the winter, people don’t seem to think about it as much, but our sun exposure is greater because those rays bounce back up from the snow.”

Individuals with blonde or red hair, freckles, and a history of chronic sun exposure, sunburns, or tanning bed use, and those with melanoma in the family are at greater risk for melanoma.

In its early stages, melanoma can be treated with surgical removal and is often first found by routine skin screenings.

“Some melanoma cancers show up on non-sun exposed areas,” said Johnson. “And with melanoma especially, it’s important to catch it early.”

Though in recent years, newer types of immunotherapy and targeted therapies have shown a great deal of promise in treating advanced melanomas, still, skin cancer still takes approximately 80,000 lives a year in the U.S. alone.

More about the Telluride Med Center:

The Telluride Regional Medical Center provides the highest quality, comprehensive Primary Care and exceptional Emergency / Trauma Services. The medical center has evolved since 1978, wherever possible, right along with complex healthcare technologies and population growth– all while remaining within the 10,000-square-foot remodeled residential building built in the 1960s.

Currently the Telluride Hospital District is working to secure a site for a new facility to serve the needs of the region today, tomorrow and 50 years into the future.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.