The cancerous spot, which measured 0.025 inches and was nearly invisible to the human eye, was detected by the doctors in no time.
In an astonishing feat, doctors in Oregon have achieved a remarkable milestone by setting a Guinness World Record. Their keen eyes detected a minuscule skin cancer spot on the cheek of a woman named Christy Staats from Portland. Measuring a mere 0.025 inches, this cancerous blemish was almost invisible to the naked eye. The doctors' extraordinary attention to detail and expertise in identifying such a tiny and potentially life-threatening anomaly is truly awe-inspiring.
Stats made a dermatology appointment two years ago to have a different spot on her cheek examined, per Good Morning America. The examinations revealed that the spot was a benign skin growth. However, her dermatologist, Alexander Witkowski, noticed another concerning spot on her cheek.
"He looked four or five times, just looking closely from every angle and told me that he thought I had the smallest melanoma in the world," Staats shared. "So that's how it got found." Witkowski used a high-tech tool called a confocal microscope to detect cancer, and the spot located on Staats' right cheek was about the size of a pencil's tip.
He said: "I noticed this very tiny speckle, and so that's when we applied the confocal microscope, the virtual biopsy, and that tool allowed me to see down to one cell and one nucleus. So what I saw were very clear, distinct, atypical cells are associated with melanoma skin cancer." Staats was diagnosed with Stage 0 melanoma in July 2021 and got it removed without undergoing further treatment.
"I was in the right place at the right time with the right technology," Staats added. "I have no idea what would have happened if I hadn't gone in and had the opportunity to have it looked at using confocal imaging. I was just a very lucky individual." This year, after two years of her diagnosis, Witkowski and Dr. Joanna Ludzik, his wife and colleague who worked with him on the diagnosis, received a Guinness World Record for the "smallest skin cancer detected."
Witkowski said that it was a team effort and was grateful for the honor. "This achievement for our group allows us to start a national conversation and get the word out that skin cancer does affect a lot of Americans."
According to the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Cancer Institute, more than 1 million Americans live with melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer in which cancer cells form in melanocytes, the cells that color the skin. Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer and can spread throughout the body, said Witkowski, who urges people to get routine checkups. "With a late diagnosis of melanoma. I like to call it falling through the cracks because we have this technology," he added. "The solution is just the widespread implementation of these types of precise tools, not only in our offices but across the United States."
Ludzik and Witkowski encouraged people to pay close attention to their skin and reach out to their healthcare provider when they notice anything unusual. "The power is in the patient's hands because skin cancers are identified first by the patient, or their family member, their partner, friend or co-worker," Witkowski said. "That means that a lay person or a public person before they become a patient, are worried about something because it's different, it has changed or evolved, and then they asked a question."
He added, "That's where the power is, that if you think something is changing or different or stands out from the rest, ask your primary care doctor or ask your dermatologist so that an expert can evaluate it."