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A New DNA Test For Skin Cancer: Scotch Tape?

“I hate needles.” Patients say this to me everyday. When you think about it, who “likes” needles?

Skin biopsies are relatively painless, but they still involve the dreaded needle and always leave scars. The trouble is we dermatologists cannot guarantee that a mole isn’t skin cancer without sending a biopsy for pathology. That is, until now.

Although it is not available in clinic yet, an almost incredible new innovation might allow us to determine if a mole is cancerous by testing the DNA of the mole. It sounds like it’s from an episode of CSI, but it’s real.

Melanomas have DNA (messager-RNA to be exact, but it’s a little complicated) that differentiate them from normal moles, so testing the mole for melanoma requires only a tiny sample of skin. Fortunately, no needles are needed — in fact, no sharp objects are necessary at all. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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