SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- In the hot summer days, many people love to lay out by the pool. And in these colder months, you may enjoy laying in a tanning booth.
All of these are contributing factors to skin cancer including someone's heredity.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. One out of five people will develop skin cancer in their life time.
A suspicious spot on your skin, a spot that's changing or bleeding could be a sign of skin cancer.
"It's estimated that there are about 3.5 million skin cancers a year in America," said Dr. Stanley Glazer from New England Center of Dermatology and Laser Center. "That's more than all other cancers combined. So if you think about lung cancer, skin cancer, any kind of cancer, and you lump them all together, they don't even begin to approach how many skin cancers develop annually."
Western Mass News visited the New England Center of Dermatology and Laser Center. We sat down with Dr. Glazer, discussing how technology can detect skin cancer.
He tells Western Mass News that a piece of technology called, 'melafind' can detect skin cancer.
"It's a technology, where in patients, are basically photographed after a scanner goes over them and looks at all their moles. They compare it to the data base that is there," explained Glazer.
So how does it work?
"It's sort of a pattern recognition," said Glazer. "This is a brown spot and the computer says 'oh, the brown spot. It may be suspicious,' and so the technologies help people localizes define skin cancer."
He tells Western Mass News that technology is not normally used in dermatology offices. He has been a practicing dermatologist for years, using two other devices.
"This is a magnifier that many of us use," said Glazer. "It's a headset to help magnify things. These come in different magnifications."
With that magnifying headset, he also uses a hand tool called, 'dermascope,' that gives a deeper look into the skin.
"We also have this called a dermascope, and this is a device that can magnify much greater and in greater detail than the headset, so we often use this too,' Glazer explained.
The polarizing light, he says, helps get a closer look at lesions.
"To really look at the lesions and we actually see through the skin a little bit deeper so it's not just on the surface," Glazer said. "You can actually see blood vessels and pigment a little deeper."
With years under his belt, Dr. Glazer said he normally can tell if someone's spot is cancer.
To be 100 percent certain, he will then take a biopsy.
That's taking a sample of the skin and sending it to a lab to be examined under a microscope.
He says if anyone has a new spot or a discolored spot, to give your dermatologist a call.
"If you see something that doesn't look right to you, or it is bleeding or crusting, or it's painful, or someone else points something out to you or your spouse, take heath and have it checked," said Glazer.