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S K I N   C A N C E R   S C R E E N I N G--Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.  Risk factors include light skin, family history of melanoma, over 40 years of age, and regular sun exposure.  Skin cancer is almost always curable if detected and treated early.  The most common skin cancers are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma - 80-85% of all skin cancers.  Basal cell carcinoma affects cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma - 10% of all skin cancers.  Squamous cell carcinoma affects cells in the middle layer of the epidermis.
  • Melanoma - 5% of all skin cancers.  Melanoma is a rare, but very dangerous, type of skin cancer; Melanoma is the leading cause of skin disease deaths.

Skin cancers vary in shape, color, size and texture.  All new, changing, or otherwise suspicious growths or rashes should be examined promptly by a physician or physicians assistant for evaluation.   Early intervention is essential to preventing cancer from spreading.

P S O R I A S I S--Psoriasis is a group of chronic skin disorders that cause itching and/or burning, scaling and crusting of the skin.  Over seven million men and women in the United States have some form of psoriasis; which may be mild, moderate, or severe.  The most commonly affected areas are the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet, and genitals.  Psoriasis cannot be cured; but modern available treatments can reduce the appearance and discomfort associated with this disorder.  Treatment will depend on the type, severity, and location of the psoriasis. The most common treatments are topical medications, phototherapy, photochemotherapy (PUVA), and oral or injectable medication.

E  C Z E M A--Eczema is a group of inflamed skin conditions that result in chronic itchy rashes.  About 15 million people in the United States suffer from some form of eczema, including 10-20 percent of all infants.  Symptoms vary from person to person; but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which break out in rashes when scratched.  Objects and conditions that trigger itchy eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soaps, detergents, disinfectants, fruit and meat juices, dust mites, animal saliva and danders, upper respiratory infections and stress.  Treatment involves the restriction of scratching, use of moisturizing lotions or creams, cold compresses and nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments.  If this proves insufficient, physicians may prescribe corticosteroid medication, antibiotics to combat infection, or antihistamines.  Phototherapy is also a common in-office treatment that uses concentrated light to reduce these rashes.

R O S A C E A--Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and swelling on the face.  The scalp, neck, ears, chest, back and/or eyes may also be affected. Symptoms range from red pimples, lines and visible blood vessels to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily.  Many people find that the emotional effects of rosacea – such as low self-confidence and avoidance of social situations – are more difficult to handle than the physical ones.  Although it can affect anyone, rosacea typically appears in light-skinned, light-haired adults aged 30-50.  It is not yet known what causes rosacea and the disease is not curable, although it can be treated with topical and oral medications, laser therapy or laser surgery.

A C N E--Acne is the term for the blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can   appear typically on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.  Seventeen million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. While it affects mostly teenagers, and almost all teenagers have some form of acne, adults of any age can have it.  Acne is not life-threatening, but it can cause physical disfigurement (scarring) and emotional distress.  Treatment for acne varies depending on the type and severity of lesions, as well as the patient's skin type, age and life.  Options include:  Topical medications, Antibiotics, Accutane RX, Blackhead extraction/Milia, Microdermabrasion, Skin care instruction, or Laser treatment.

ACNE SCARRING can be treated in a variety of ways; these include:  Chemical peels, dermabrasion, soft tissue fillers or laser/pulsed light treatments.

B I R T H M A R K/  M O L E   E V A L U A T I O N   A N D   R E M O V A L--Moles and other birthmarks are benign pigmented spots or patches of skin that range in color from tan, brown and black (moles) to red, pink or purple (vascular lesions, such as strawberry hemangiomas or port wine stains).  Treatment for benign, yet unattractive, birthmarks include laser or pulsed light therapy, microdermabrasion, or surgical excision.  Although most birthmarks are benign, they can develop into cancer.  Moles exhibiting any of the following warning signs should be examined by a physician or physicians assistant promptly:  Larger than six millimeters, Itches or bleeds, rapidly changes in color, size or shape, has multiple colors, or is located where it can't be easily monitored, such as on the scalp.

L I P O M A S --A lipoma is a benign soft-tissue tumor that can be found anywhere on the skin.  Lipomas rarely become cancerous; and are not usually a medical concern unless they become infected.  However, many people are bothered by the appearance of lipomas and seek treatment to have them removed.  Lipomas can be removed through surgical excision; most lipomas do not return after this procedure.