By Christopher Tobutt
The Fotofinder ABTM Master is the latest piece of machinery to help in the war on skin cancer in the Cayman Islands, and perhaps further afield too. The new machine, the very first in this region, was recently unveiled at Integra Healthcare, greatly enhances a dermatologist’s ability to swiftly diagnose the beginning of skin cancer by employing artificial intelligence in the analysis of images of the skin surface. Integra Healthcare, based at Grand Pavilion, is a women’s and children’s and Family medical practice, and was set up in 2018.
Integra Director, Andrew Vincent explained, “For a very long time skin cancer had really been detected by people raising concerns about a mole on their arm or leg or face, then going to see a dermatologist, and having a detailed examination.
“The problem is with skin cancer if you late-diagnose it you have a poor prognosis for survival, but if you diagnose it early you will have every chance of a full recovery. So what this particular machine does is it detects it very early, and very fast, and very accurately. So on an island like Cayman where skin cancer is a particular concern because of our climate, it means we will be able to screen many more hundreds of people for skin cancer than we would have been able to before, and that will mean that we can identify skin cancer earlier and therefore save more lives.”
Mr. Vincent went on to explain that the new machine will be made available to patients all across the Cayman Islands, both when referred by a doctor and through self-referral for screening, and from further afield too, in time.
Integra’s Dr. Francisco Martinez said, “The exciting thing about this machine is that can catch something that is not visible to the human eyes. Most of the melanomas do not grow from a mole, they grow as a new lesion. If it is something new, something tiny, or something that is changing, the machine is able to find it and spot it and will tell the Dermatologist there is something here you need to check.”
During a demonstration of the new machine, dermatologist Dr. Alison Duncan said “This fantastic piece of machinery will hopefully revolutionize the way we manage skin cancer. The importance of early detection is that it will help us save lives and this is what this machine will help us in doing. Cayman is blessed with sunshine but five severe sunburns in your lifetime can actually double your risk of developing melanoma. This machinecano pick up skin cancer early enough that you can actually get a 99 to 100 percent survival rate over five years.
Hon. Minister for Health, Dwayne Seymour, commented, “Skin cancer can affect any of us, our families and our friends. It is a disease that needs to be taken seriously by all of us and it is a disease that is best identified early and treated early for the greatest likelihood of survival. I congratulate Integra for helping us lead again through this most important field.”