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UK's first same-day skin cancer testing clinic opens

skin cancer prevention

The Cadogan Clinic, a brand new clinic in London’s exclusive Sloane Street is to become the first in the UK to offer same-day skin cancer testing.

Anyone returning from holiday with concerns about a mole or other skin blemish can now have it seen by a consultant dermatologist or other specialist, biopsied and tested, the lab results returned for diagnosis by the doctor and if necessary treatment started all within one day, a process that previously took a week or more.

The Cadogan Clinic, home to 20 of the world’s top surgeons and clinicians, will house an on-site laboratory, which enables doctors to offer the same-day service, instead of sending skin samples away to be tested, with the inevitable delays and extra worry for patients.

Skin cancer is the commonest form of cancer in the UK, with 75,000 cases reported each year and rates on the rise, coupled , with the main risk factor for skin cancer being an increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation. There are three main types of skin cancer, melanoma (the most serious, malignant type), squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. In all three, early detection is essential.

Jonathan Bowling, Consultant Dermatologist from the Cadogan Clinic’s Skin Cancer Unit says that same day testing allows treatment to start as soon as possible:

“Previously it would take anything up to a week between first seeing a patient and being able to tell them whether their mole was cancerous, a delay that is very stressful for the patient. With our new same-day testing capabilities here at the Cadogan Clinic, we can either give someone the all clear or get them started on a treatment programme as early as possible, giving the patient reassurance and giving those that are found to have malignant cancers the best chances of recovery thanks to quick detection and
treatment.”

One of the diagnostic techniques Dr Bowling will be making use of is Dermoscopy, where specialised devices (dermatoscopes) are used which illuminate and magnify structures within the skin which would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. These structures include the blood vessels seen in certain skin cancers. Dermoscopy has been proven to improve accuracy when diagnosing melanoma, allowing earlier detection of melanoma and other skin cancers and a reduction in unnecessary skin excisions.

The Cadogan Clinic will also be offering a range of skin cancer prevention programmes including mole mapping, a technique whereby a patient’s moles are catalogued or ‘mapped’, with the images created being used as part of a skin cancer surveillance programme, with regular comparisons of images to looks for changes in mole size, shape etc.

Cancer news : 20/02/2008