Yesterday And Today
René is a smart guy, playing football and music. Back in 1984, he spent his first holidays with his sun-loving girlfriend in Spain where he got a heavy sunburn. His skin is already covered by an exceptional high number of moles, and this number was growing over the years.
His two sons have inherited the same type of skin. But René is caring for his health and his family. He knows that moles are just a few of the more than 3.000 skin disorders that affect people every day. He also knows that changes in colour or texture can result from many sources: inflammation, infection, allergic reactions. While some skin conditions can be minor and easily treated, others can be very serious and even deadly.
He consults the local dermatologist in his hometown back beginning of the 1990s. At this time, internet is only starting to develop. Medical knowledge lies in the hand of doctors and patients have to trust them. Medical devices are, as well, not in the developed state they are today. When asking his dermatologist for a regular review of the moles on his skin, the doctor replies that he has no device to screen the moles. The acquisition price for such a tech device would be too high for his practice.
Dermatology is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of skin diseases. But if the dermatologist is relying on his sol eyes to detect potentially serious disorders, and is refusing to purchase a medical device to screen moles and save the screening results, could René be assured about his health condition? His skin was sun-exposed and has a extraordinary high number of moles. Is he at risk? How can he monitor the risk? How can he protect his family? How can he give an example to his two sons?
René decides to consult a dermatologist in another country. Back in the 1990s, without Google, this is almost an adventure. He decides to go on the safe side, consulting a university hospital in a neighbouring country, only 100 kilometres away. But he did not have the possibility to consult the doctor’s experience, his expertise, his publications, his specialised services. He had to trust the hospital’s reputation and go for it. He had no patients experiences at hand. The only criteria for choosing the doctor was to ask if the professional could ensure a regular screening of the moles, to detect possible serious disorders. The dermatologist replied by yes.
Since those days, René consults every 6 months his dermatologist. He undergoes a regular screening, and – at three times – a prevention surgery to eliminate moles which seemed risky. Over the years, the device used by the doctor is evolving, and now a simple smartphone with a lens does the service.
Back in 2012, at a regular 6 months-consultation, the doctor discovers a potentially serious disorder with one the moles. A surgery is done immediately, and the results show a black skin cancer. As it was detected at a very early stage, there was no need to do more than a reinforced screening process every three months, coupled by an ultrasonic check and a blood test. Without discovery and subsequent treatment, this cancer would have been deadly within one year. And a whole family affected.
For five years now, no other cancer has appeared. The doctor is suggesting to downgrade the screening process to a six month check, which would be sufficient.
René has found the right doctor and the right device.