Almost invisible spot under woman’s eye turns out to be world’s smallest skin cancer
Dermatologists in the US have detected the world’s smallest skin cancer, measuring just 0.65 mm. The astounding discovery was made when a woman visited a skin care specialist, concerned about another red spot underneath her eye for years. While examining Christy Staats’ skin, the dermatologist saw another blemish on the same right cheek. The tiny spot, almost invisible to the human eye, was later identified as melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer – by experts at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
“During COVID, I started to think about my health a little more. I have a magnifying mirror in my bathroom and noticed the spot I was worried about was way bigger and had a ‘leg’ on it. I set up an appointment to get it looked at,” Ms Staats was quoted as saying by OHSU website.
The spot is so tiny that it has been awarded a Guinness World Record, according to the university’s website. On May 1, a judge from the Guinness World Records came to OHSU to award each team member a certificate for their newly-earned record.
The discovery was made in January, but the certificate was awarded on May 1.
Dr Alexander Witkowski, assistant professor of dermatology at OHSU, who spotted the cancer, said the finding meant the melanoma could be treated before it spread.
The university’s website said that the doctor, along with a multi-disciplinary team, used a combination of dermoscopy and Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (an imaging tool) to identify the micro-skin cancer.
The news about discovery has been peer-reviewed and published in US government’s National Library of Medicine.
The micro-melanoma, found exclusively on the top layer of the skin, was in-situ. Dr Witkowski said the cancer’s discovery is important because “it was found before it had the opportunity to spread to other parts of the body”.
Ms Staats, meanwhile, said she is grateful her melanoma was caught before it could grow or spread. She said she believes she was in the “right place at the right time…with the right technology.”