Welcome to Dermatology PA's first ever newsletter!
You are receiving this as you have been a patient in my office at Dermatology PA in Edina or becasue you subscibed to this newsletter from our website. Please don’t panic as this will not be a weekly or even a monthly affair. I will send out some thoughts every couple of months as the spirit moves me.
For this inaugural newsletter I would like to touch on a subject that is the most important work we do in the office--- screening for melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma is a deadly skin cancer and many of us know someone who has had the disease. Unfortunately the incidence of melanoma is rising exponentially. So what can we do about it?
The answer is a three part approach: prevention, self-examination and in-office screening.
Prevention is absolutely required and I teach this to every patient. Avoiding sunburns is critical in preventing melanoma and can be accomplished with physical prevention (see my blog on this subject) as well as using sunscreen and avoiding tanning booths. Tanning booths are now known now to increase the incidence of melanoma.
Self-examination is something that we should all be doing- perhaps with the help of a spouse or loved one. Any unusual or new skin lesions that have persisted beyond 6-8 weeks should be investigated by a dermatologist. Melanoma can have different appearances but is usually a very dark mole that is either new or has changed or grown in size. Remember that melanoma can occur on any part of your skin INCLUDING areas that never see the sun.
Screening by a dermatologist in the office is essential for individuals at higher risk for melanoma. Those at higher risk include patients with: a history of extensive sun exposure (e.g. lifeguard work or lake time when younger), family or personal histories of melanoma or other skin cancers, and a higher than average number of moles on the skin.
Remember- I never tell patients to stay out of the sun. What matters is what you are wearing and doing while you are in the sun.
Arthur Ide MD