Thursday, May 22, 2008

Skin Cancer Screening

Well, I think this was an awesome idea that should be adopted in Canada. I saw signs in the elevator for a free clinic where you can show a doctor any skin marks that you might be worried about. Since it was free and there was one mole that worried me slightly (worried my mother a whole heck of a lot more!) I signed up. I arrived, filled in a short questionnaire and was led into a meeting room with a doctor (at least I hope he was a doctor). In less than 60 seconds he had determined the mole was benign and had a quick look at a couple other obvious moles. Nothing to worry about. So in the span of 1 minute for me, maybe 2 minutes for my colleague (who knew the doctor so probably also chatted briefly with him), two patients had been screened and dismissed. The normal procedure would be to set up an appointment with a qualified dermatologist, travel to their private practice, and likely take a good 30 minutes of office time. Here there was a mobile unit, at a university where in the course of the day perhaps a hundred screens could be performed. I suspect that the patient throughput is much more efficient. En plus, there is the added benefit of increased awareness. Given that early detection saves both lives and money I would think this is a model worth looking into if I were working at OHIP.

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