skin cancer body check atlanta
As the seasons change, we like to remind our patients that fall is the time we recommend our skin cancer body check. The Archives of Dermatology reported that in a survey of patients, men and women seek skin cancer screenings for very different reasons. Women are more likely to schedule skin cancer body checks after noticing a change in skin lesions, due to a family history of skin cancer and sun exposure. Men, on the other hand, most often attend skin cancer screenings much later in life after being prompted by a female spouse or family member or after a previous skin cancer diagnosis.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. Evidence shows that while family history does play a part, extended unprotected sun exposure (including time spent in tanning beds) is a recognized cause of skin cancer, and that early detection is an important key in catching signs of pre-cancers.
While it seems as though women are seeking skin cancer screenings for the right reasons, it is still important to do so in a timely manner. The median age of women in the survey was around 53 years old. The truth is that people of any age should seek a skin cancer body check if they notice any troubling change in their skin texture or tone. Actinic keratosis is a pre-cancer that is most often found in commonly sun damaged areas like the face, top of the shoulders, and arms. These actinic keratoses are characterized by red, rough, and scaly spots of skin that become rough, and almost even tender when rubbed.
If left undetected and/or untreated, actinic keratosis can lead to one of three kinds of skin cancer including squamous and basal cell carcinoma as well as melanoma. Squamous cell carcinoma appears as irritated, scaly patches of skin, while basal cell carcinoma is characterized by raised, smooth bumps around the head, neck, or shoulders. Sometimes it can look like a sore that never heals. Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer and most often looks like a darker brown or black lesion. Actinic keratoses may seem harmless because they aren’t cancer, but if patients go too long without treatment, they can turn into basal or squamous cell carcinomas and even melanoma.
Though it’s the most serious form of skin cancer, it’s important to know that melanoma can be 100% curable if detected early.
Monitor your skin for changes in moles including changes in shape, size, elevation, and color. To help with at-home monitoring of potential skin cancers, we often tell our patients to look for the ABCDE’s when checking any moles or suspicious lesions:
- Borders (irregularities)
- Color (changes)
- Diameter (bigger than a pencil eraser)
- Evolving over time
During a medical skin cancer body check, your dermatologist will carefully examine your skin for any curious moles or lesions. If you have any concerns, it’s best to address them with your doctor, and he or she can track any new or existing moles from year to year to measure any growth or other changes.
If necessary, your dermatologist may recommend a treatment option based on any existing pre-cancers or cancers he or she finds. For example, photodynamic therapy uses laser light to destroy cancerous tissues, while cryosurgery uses extreme cold to eliminate abnormal cells and pre-cancers.
Skin cancer screenings are a short, painless prevention measure that can help individuals of any age recognize the signs and symptoms of skin cancer. The survey published in the Archives of Dermatology demonstrates that women are ahead of men in terms of staying on top of skin cancer checks. Regardless of age, sex, or sun exposure habits, it’s important to track your yearly skin changes.
Contact us for more information on Dermatology Associates of Atlanta and to schedule your skin cancer body check. You can also stay up-to-date on our news and events by “Liking” us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.
As the seasons change and fall begins to cool off summer, skin cancer and sun damage my be the last things from your mind. That’s why we wanted to make sure you added an annual skin cancer body check at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta to your fall checklist.
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta offers multiple options for skin care and cancer prevention, hair loss, wrinkle reduction, fat reduction, skin tightening, and vein elimination. Present this flyer at your next skin cancer body check and receive a FREE bottle of DAA sunscreen. Offer expires June 30, 2011.
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta is an all-serving medical facility with eight on-site specialty centers. Our team of board certified dermatologists and physician’s assistants, with 150 years of combined experience, provides patients with optimum care of the skin, hair, and nails. Because our practice’s offerings are a bit extensive, each specialty center containing its own staff of trained physicians and practitioners with their own distinct menu of skin treatments, we’ve decided to highlight each center in our upcoming blog series. Listed below is a brief overview of what’s offered at each specialty center:
• Atlanta Center for Veins: Our vein treatment center offers face and leg vein elimination treatment for varicose and spider veins including: sclerotherapy, Veinwave™, laser vein removal, and Foto Facial® IPL treatment. DAA’s vein specialists has successfully treated varicose and spider veins for over 20 years.
• Atlanta Laser and Cosmetic Surgery Center: Cosmetic procedures like blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), liposuction, facial rejuvenation, facial fillers, and dermal injectables are offered in our cosmetic surgery center. Our surgical procedures are performed in our state approved, AAAHC accredited Surgical Suite and non-surgical procedures are performed in our treatment rooms.
- Skin Cancer Center: Part of DAA’s Dermatology Center, our Skin Cancer Center is devoted to the prevention and removal of skin cancer. Skin cancer body checks are performed regularly. Surgical removal of cancerous lesions can be performed in one of our procedure rooms; more advanced surgeries must be performed in our Surgical Suite. For instance, Mohs skin cancer surgery, our most precise and effective method of removing skin cancer is performed in the Surgical Suite.
• Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research: Dr. Edmond Griffin, leading hair loss specialist and board certified dermatologist for 34 years, founded this center with the goal of ensuring that every patient with a hair loss condition leaves his office informed about hair loss prevention methods, treatment options, and a clear understanding if hair restoration surgery is right for them.
• Laser Institute of Georgia: We are proud, not only to be the largest and most experienced laser center in the Southeast, but also the first laser center available in Georgia. We offer 16 different lasers. Our physicians have over 20 years of experience using lasers to remove and/or reduce: wrinkles, brown or red spots, tattoos, facial veins, freckles, birthmarks, and unwanted hair.
• Psoriasis Treatment Center: Specifically devoted to treat patients suffering from psoriasis, this center offers various treatment methods including: PHAROS EX-308 Excimer Laser treatments, scalp hydrotherapy, and localized psoriasis therapy, to name a few.
• Skin Medics™ Medical Spa: A visit to Skin Medics™ will allow you to indulge in the latest facial rejuvenation techniques with microdermabrasion, facials, natural peels and chemical peels. Our board certified dermatologists and licensed medical aestheticians work together to meet your every skin care need.
- Hair Removal Center: Located within Skin Medics™, this center provides multiple options for hair removal such as waxing, electrolysis, and laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is also offered at DAA’s Laser Institute of Georgia.
• The Surgical Suite: Our 2000 square-foot outpatient center is state approved, AAAHC accredited, and devoted to safety as well as medical and surgical excellence. Our surgical suite offers comprehensive surgical services, an experienced medical staff, and a comfortable waiting area for friends or family members.
Be sure to visit the Dermatology Associates of Atlanta website for more information on the services we provide at each of the centers. Also, stay tuned for the upcoming blog series as we further introduce each specialty center, along with our regular updates on dermatology news and our specials.
We all know that the sun’s ultra violet rays can be especially damaging to our skin; causing us to wrinkle prematurely, destroying our skin’s elasticity, and even sometimes leading to the formation of skin cancer. Just as sunburn is visible, physical proof of sun damage, the formation actinic keratosis is tangible proof of sun exposure and often a precursor to basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas.
Actinic keratosis, also known as a solar keratosis or sun spot, is a non-threatening, rough (sand paper textured), pinkish spot on the skin. Because the spots are so easily overlooked, they often go undetected for years before progressing to a true cancer which must be completely removed. Actinic keratoses are almost exclusively found on sun exposed skin (especially in fair skin patients with light eyes). Keratoses frequently appear in clusters on the face and forehead. While not all types of keratosis will lead to cancer, it’s vital to seek treatment from a dermatology specialist so he/she can destroy these cells before they are allowed to progress.
Individuals with fair complexions, hair, and eye color should be particularly vigilant about skin cancer screenings and ensure they have at least one annual skin cancer body check. “Fair” patients are those that frequently complain how they tan poorly and burn easily. Most insurance policies now allow a careful yearly exam to not only identify these precancerous growths, but also to find and identify abnormal moles which may be, or become, malignant melanoma.
Avoiding these abnormal growths is fairly simple: regularly shield your skin (i.e.- face, body, and neck) with a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and avoid extended periods of sun exposure. Remember, avoiding the sun will also help prevent premature aging and wrinkling. If you’re concerned about getting enough sun for healthy vitamin D production, a simple blood test can determine whether a dietary supplement may be needed. The benefits of decreased exposure and enhanced sun protection measures far outweigh those of extended sun exposure.
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s board certified specialists remind you to protect your skin even throughout the winter months. Reflective agents like ice and snow can magnify the harmful effects of harmful UV rays. To learn more about skin cancer prevention or skin cancer treatments available at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta visit their website or continue to read their blog.
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