Drug stores are showing their potential as sites for cancer screening technology, enhancing their value as a destination for preventive care.
This month, medical device maker MedXHealth Corp. announced a mole-scanning pilot using its SIAscopy technology at 25 Alphega Pharmacies, part of the Walgreens Alliance Boots retail network, in the United Kingdom. MedX said the mole-scanning service is based on a successful model in place at 100 Boots pharmacies in Norway as well as in a Swedish pharmacy chain, where the mole-scanning service has recently grown to 32 locations. To date, the service has identified more than 120 life-threatening melanomas.
MedX’s SIAscopy technology, SIMSYS and MoleMate handheld devices, use light and its remittance to view beneath suspicious moles and lesions in a noninvasive manner, creating real-time images for doctors and dermatologists to evaluate all types of moles or lesions in seconds. The devices are sold to physicians and clinics and are being deployed in drug store settings, where the images are sent remotely to dermatologists, who perform a diagnosis.
“This is a positive development for MedX. We will continue to work with our channel partners to support and grow the pharmacy-based direct to consumer application of our technology,” stated Rob von der Porten, chief executive officer of MedXHealth.
Earlier this year, a dozen London Drugs pharmacies in British Columbia participated in a pilot to provide free oral cancer screenings using the VELscope Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System from LED Dental Inc.
In the screenings, a dental professional used the VELscope Vx handheld scope to help detect for oral tissue abnormalities. The screening aids in the early identification of lesions potentially at risk for oral pre-cancer as well as lesions that may be signs of other mucosal diseases or systemic diseases. Patients received an evaluation summary and, if necessary, were advised to see an oral or health professional for further assessment.
John Tse, vice president of pharmacy at London Drugs, said at the time that the oral cancer screening pilot marked a first for Canadian pharmacies. The pilot program was developed with oral medicine and pathology specialist Dr. Samson Ng of the University of British Columbia. “This is the first time we are working with colleagues outside the dental field to find ways to combat the minimally known, but deadly, oral cancer,” Ng commented when the pilot was announced in April.