HAVE WORRISOME MOLES CHECKED BY YOUR DOCTOR AND IF THEY PERSIST SEE YOUR DERMATOLOGIST

Some Fourth-Year Medical Students Lack Proficiency in Detecting Melanomas

(Reuters 2/12) According to research presented at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting, some fourth-year medical students are not particularly proficient when it comes to detecting melanomas. In a study in which students were presented with patients complaining about carpal tunnel syndrome and wearing simulated melanomas, investigators found that 56 students observed the lesion, but only 13 did note it in the patient’s records or even mentioned it to the patient. Because of this, the researchers suggested that medical schools redouble their efforts at helping medical students learn to identify melanomas while evaluating patients.

WIDESPREAD USE OF INDOOR TANNING BY ADULTS

Age is no guarantee of wisdom

(Archives of Dermatology 12/2010) More than 30 MILLION people use tanning beds in the U.S. each year despite the fact that the World Health Organization has designated tanning beds as cancer causing. Researchers have suggested that the increasing incidence of Melanoma and non-Melanoma skin cancers is due to the use of tanning beds, especially in young people.

 

More women than men used tanning beds, and women persisted using them into their 50′s, and men into their 40′s. Regular sunscreen use was inversely associated with the use of tanning beds among women but not men. People who used artificial tanners were also more likely to use tanning beds. Only 13.3% of women and 4.2% of men believed that avoiding tanning would reduce skin cancer. These surprising findings indicate that tanning bed use is still prevalent among adults. Fewer than 1 in 7 women and 1 in 19 men even believed that tanning beds could cause cancer!!

 

We must increase our efforts to inform adults and young people about the cancer risks of tanning beds and dispel the notion of their benefits (such as increasing Vitamin D, and providing a protective “base” tan- -please see DO TANS PROTECT?). WHY INCLUDE THIS BORING ARTICLE NOW??- BECAUSE LAST WEEK WE DIAGNOSED AN ADVANCED STAGE MELANOMA IN A YOUNG WOMAN WHO ISN’T EVEN 21 YRS OLD, AND WHO WAS ADDICTED TO TANNING BEDS. IF WE CAN PREVENT THIS IN EVEN ONE MORE PERSON, IT IS A BLESSING.

TOTAL SKIN EXAMINATIONS – NOT QUITE THERE

(American Journal of Medicine 05/2010) According to recent surveys, only about 13% of women and 16% of men received skin cancer screening

 

Total skin examination by a qualified physician represents a major opportunity – or one lost – to detect early skin cancer such as Melanoma. How often do you think most of us take advantage of this? This very large study of more than 10,000 people showed what is commonly suspected by Dermatologists. Patients are not getting Total Skin Exams and curable melanomas may be going undetected despite regular doctor visits!!

 

Only 13-16% of women and men had their skin examined despite reporting that well over 50% of them had breast, prostate, and rectal cancer screening. Interestingly men get more skin exams than women do; however, both numbers are frighteningly low!!

 

WE KNOW THIS FIRST HAND WHEN A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR PATIENT WAS RECENTLY DIAGNOSED WITH MELANOMA AT OUR OFFICE. SHE REPORTED IT HAD BEEN THERE TWO YEARS. THIS IS AN EASY, QUICK EXAM. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

 

THE CHEESE SHOULDN’T STAND ALONE

(CNN, EWG 5/11) With the new FDA guidelines on sunscreens, many agencies are advising you to remember that sunscreens alone cannot prevent skin cancer.

 

Don’t forget about staying in the shade, using protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection, and trying to avoid sun at the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm.

 

A recent analysis of random beach/sport sunscreens showed that only 5 out of 600 met the new FDA guidelines …AMAZING!!!!

 

Also, watch when using spray sunscreens- they don’t cover as completely as lotions and can cause you to inhale unhealthy chemicals.

Be especially watchful of this around young children.

 

PEAS VERSUS CARROTS- A HUNG JURY

(Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery 6/11). Reports that crow’s feet responded better to Dysport than to Botox have surfaced. Patients favored the Dysport treated side by a 2:1 margin during a 30 day split face trial. Producers of Botox challenged the study stating that the dosing, limited time, and small number of subjects made the comparison unfair.

 

BOTH AGENTS ARE FDA APPROVED, AND HAVE GOOD SAFETY TRACK RECORDS. OUR EXPERIENCE IS THAT SOMETIMES ONE WORKS BETTER IN SOME PEOPLE THAN OTHERS FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON. PERSONALLY, IF I WANT TO REMOVE STUBBORN LINES I CHOOSE DYSPORT. IF I WANT SUBTLE CHANGES, OR MILDER EFFECTS I CHOOSE BOTOX. THAT BEING SAID, MANY PEOPLE FIND THEY ARE EQUAL, OR THEY HAVE THEIR OWN PERSONAL PREFERENCE. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG CHOICE. YOU FIND WHAT YOU PREFER BY TRYING IT OUT.

WHAT IS DEADLIER THAN A MELANOMA- A MERKEL CELL?

Although most people are familiar with the word melanoma, and think it is the most lethal skin cancer, the survival rates for the Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) are much worse. It is an uncommon form of skin cancer. A study done in Australia from 1993-2007 showed 64% of MCC alive at 5 years, versus 90% of the melanoma patients being alive. MCC tends to reoccur even with appropriate treatment. MCC appears as pink bumps usually on the face, neck, and arms. Like melanoma, MCC is related to sun exposure, and is often mistaken for the more common skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma.

 

MOST PINK-RED BUMPS ON YOUR SKIN ARE NOT GOING TO BE MCC – BUT IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THIS THAT PERSISTS, SEE YOUR DERMATOLOGIST AND CONSIDER HAVING A SKIN BIOPSY IF IT DOESN’T RESOLVE.

SHINGLES VACCINE NOT NEARLY AS WIDELY USED AS ONCE HOPED

(New York Times 7/11). A combination of factors has discouraged many doctors from carrying Zostavax, the vaccine for shingles. Merck, the manufacturer has also been unable to provide sufficient quantities to even meet modest demands. As a result, intermittent shortages have prevented consistent marketing and have therefore stalled Public Health agencies from informing the public. Since 2006, there have been yearly problems. Statistics show that only 10% of people over the age of 60 years have received the vaccine. Now the FDA has just approved it for people aged 50-59 years, which will burden an already stressed supply. The vaccine remains cumbersome to order, receive, or be reimbursed for it.

 

IT SEEMS IF YOU WANT THE VACCINE AND ASK YOUR DOCTOR TO ORDER IT, YOU MUST BE PATIENT AND YOU MAY NEED TO PAY FOR IT UPFRONT.