Summer May Be Over, But Your Skin Still Needs your Attention
Once the long, warm days of summer come to an end, our collective attention on skin cancer prevention tends to fade away. The fact of the matter is, skin cancer can occur at any time, and on any person. Skin cancer remains one of the leading types of cancer to affect people of all ages. Fortunately, the different types of skin cancer we typically see are usually straightforward and relatively easy to treat. That is, when a cancerous growth is found in an early stage of development.
In the Seattle and Renton offices of Pacific Dermatology, we gladly perform routine skin cancer screenings for patients who want to stay abreast of their dermatologic health.
The Need for Skin Cancer Screening
The official recommendation for skin cancer screenings is that this dermatologic exam is necessary for any individual who has had skin cancer before or who has particular risk factors, such as a family history of melanoma or numerous moles and growths on the skin. The thing is, everyone is at risk for skin cancer. Whether you fit into a specific group of characteristics or not, you can benefit from a professional exam that observes the entirety of your body. According to research, skin cancer-related deaths could decrease up to 63% thanks to professional and routine self-exams.
What happens during a skin cancer full body exam?
The idea of a full-body exam may feel slightly uncomfortable. It helps to know what to expect.
- A typical skin cancer screening takes no more than a few minutes.
- Before the exam, the patient is given a gown and asked to disrobe.
- A skin cancer exam can include the genital area, where melanoma can develop, but doesn’t have to. This can be discussed between doctor and patient.
- The majority of the skin cancer screening involves visual observation with the naked eye. A handheld microscopic device is used to obtain a magnified view of moles and growths that appear even slightly suspicious.
- If a mole or growth has any of the characteristics of a cancerous growth, such as irregular borders or multiple colors, a biopsy may be taken or ordered. Tissue tests are discussed prior to any action and agreed upon by doctor and patient.
We are here to serve our patients’ medical and cosmetic dermatologic needs. To schedule your skin cancer screening, call 206-859-5777.
Going Above And Beyond For Your Skin May Be Easier Than You Think
When people talk about their skin, there are a few usual topics. We hear concerns related to aging. Some patients need to discuss ways to control acne or a chronic skin condition. At times, the topic of discussion turns toward skin cancer prevention. These are all important matters, but what we want to discuss today is how to maximize your skin now with a few easy steps.
- Get to the source. Did you know that there is a layer of cells that sit on the surface of your skin? When this cellular blanket is left undisturbed, it blocks your radiant glow from shining through. It also blocks your skincare products from the cells that need those nourishing ingredients the most. Bottom line: you want to periodically remove the uppermost layer of cells. This can be accomplished with a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or even a fractionated laser treatment.
- Get the good stuff. What you put on your skin matters as much as what you put in your body to feed the skin. Skincare is a form of nutrition, so ingredients matter. There are two important points that need to be made here. One is that store-bought skincare products are approved for superficial effect. Active ingredients are included in low concentrations. Medical grade skincare is approved for stronger concentrations, so can accomplish more. Second, product ingredients matter. Look for ingredients that will protect the skin, like antioxidants, and aid in cellular regeneration, like vitamin C.
- Get smart about protection. We hear it all the time: we need to wear sunscreen. And yet, surveys reveal that a large percentage of the population reaches for sunscreen only when obvious UV exposure is expected, such as a day at the pool. Sunscreen is a necessity not some days, but all days. Every day of the year. Could we be any clearer? Physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide are ideal, according to the Environmental Working Group, which creates a detailed list of sunscreens each year based on efficacy.
We care about your skin. Let us show you how to care for it. Call 206-859-5777 for an appointment at our Seattle or Renton location.
September 2016 Specials and Events
September 2016 Specials and Events are here. Back to School Back to Skin in September: Ultherapy events & savings, acne treatments for all ages, 15% off clarisonics all month, schedule your September skin check, free liposuction and cellfina consults, and more! Learn more by reading through our specials, contact us, or RSVP for our September Events at 206-859-5777.
June 2016 Specials and Events
June 2016 Specials and Events are here. Essentials for a Haute Summer: Get a FREE Elta MC sunscreen when booking with Ashley Miguel, get 10% off all sunscreens, 20% off all June laser hair removal packages, 10% off Ultherapy, 20% off Liposonix, and more. Learn more by reading through our specials, contact us, or RSVP for our May Events at 206-859-5777.
Skin cancer screenings are one of the most important reasons to visit your dermatologist
By Dr. Laurie Jacobson
Skin cancer screenings are one of the most important reasons to visit your dermatologist. Why is doing this on an annual basis so important?
The vast majority of skin cancers are treatable, especially when caught early. There are over 3 million new cases of skin cancer treated in the US each year, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime! It is the most common cancer in the US.
When skin cancers are found late, they are more challenging to treat, especially melanoma. In the case of melanoma, early detection can be the difference between life and death.
What does a full skin exam entail?
A full skin exam is exactly that; we need to examine every aspect of your skin so please take off your socks and wear your hair down so we can be thorough with your examination. We provide a gown and a medical assistant is in the room with the doctor during the exam.
The visit typically takes 15-20 minutes and we examine everywhere where there is skin—between toes, behind the ears, and the groin and buttocks. Please try to avoid wearing nail polish as skin cancer can sometimes present under or near the nail bed. And, wear as little makeup as possible so we can thoroughly examine your face.
What happens if the doctor finds something concerning?
When you come in for the examination, be prepared to potentially have a biopsy that very day. It’s a quick and straightforward procedure in which a small amount of local anesthetic is injected and a tiny skin sample is taken and sent to the lab. The lesion is examined under the microscope and results are typically ready within a few days.
The biopsy is only for purposes of diagnosis and not treatment so if it is indeed a skin cancer, it will require further treatment to remove the entire lesion. We provide the vast majority of surgeries needed for treating skin cancer in our office.
How can I prevent skin cancer?
- Wear sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or more on exposed areas, including your lips
- Wear protective clothing including broad brimmed hats and when in the water, wear rash guard shirts
- Be alert to any changing growths on your skin (bleeding, itchy, painful, growing for example)
- Visit your dermatologist annually for skin checks or whenever you have a concerning lesion
- Perform a self-skin exam monthly and become familiar with the spots on your skin. Be alert for new or changing growths.
- Avoid tanning booths!
May 2016 Specials and Events
May 2016 Specials and Events are here. Join Us for an Evening of Beauty! Come celebrate a night of Beauty with PD&CC with wine, bubbles, and light bites. Botox at $10/unit with a 25 unit minimum. May is skin cancer awareness month. All sunscreens 15% off in May! Learn more by reading through our specials, contact us, or RSVP for our May Events at 206-859-5777.
by Ashley Miguel, PA-C
The signs of Spring are appearing all around us! Days are growing longer, winter frost has disappeared, flowers are blooming everywhere, and we are seeing the sun more and more. These signs signal it’s time to shed the old and embrace the new! Why not start with your skin care routine?
PD&CC has an amazing array of quality cosmeceuticals and prescription grade skin care products that can aid in shedding the dull skin of winter so you can radiate the glow of spring. A cornerstone of any daily routine is to incorporate one of our retinoid or retinol products, which aid in exfoliating the epidermis, thereby brightening your complexion, smoothing rough skin and fine lines, and unclogging your pores. Stop in either our Northgate or Renton clinic and have one of our skin care professionals recommend one that suits your skin type.
Another crucial component to daily care, especially as the sun becomes more intense, is sunblock. Even rays that penetrate car windows can contribute to skin cancer and pre-mature aging such as wrinkles, skin laxity, and sun spot formation on the face, neck, and hands! Try one of our physical sunblocks from the Elta MD line that work via Zinc and Titanium. They form a shield on your skin to block UV radiation from damaging your dermis. Elta MD provides exceptional coverage in formulas that are a pleasure to wear. Remember that Spring arrives March 19th Pacific Time so let us help you get ready.
Common Signs Of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a serious but common disease. However, the good news is that it can be eliminated through various treatments. The success of the treatment depends on how early the cancer can be detected. The sooner it is detected, the higher is the success rate of the treatment. In order to detect skin cancer early, you must watch out for certain signs and symptoms.
Ignoring these signs can lead to the cancer spreading to other parts of the body, which can prove fatal. Statistics indicate that around 40 to 50 percent of light-skinned people will develop some form of skin cancer by the time they reach the age of 65. So, knowing the signs and symptoms of skin cancer can save your life.
Recognizing Skin Cancer
These are some of the signs and symptoms of possible skin cancer:
- Roughness of the lower lips that lasts for a long duration can indicate Actinic Cheilitis, which is a precancerous condition. Other signs include swelling of the lips, lip lines that are prominent, and the disappearance of the area separating the lip and skin. Actinic Cheilitis eventually develops into squamous cell carcinoma, if ignored.
- Formation of cone shaped growths on the skin can indicate squamous cell carcinoma. These growths are referred to as cutaneous horns and they grow out of a red base on the skin. They vary in size, but usually do not extend over a few millimeters length-wise. This is common in people who have fair skin and have been exposed to the sun a lot.
- Moles can also indicate skin cancer. Though, most moles are harmless, harmful ones can be identified by their shape, size, or color. Cancerous moles are usually irregular in shape, large sized, and multi-colored. Another point to note is that, moles that develop during adulthood, can be cancerous.
- Scaly patches on the head, neck and hands indicate Actinic Keratosis, which is a warning sign for skin cancer. They may develop into squamous cell skin cancer over a period of time.
Interested in Learning More About Preventing and Detecting Skin Cancer? Contact Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center
For more information about skin cancer and its treatment, contact Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center. We are located in Seattle and Renton and can be reached directly at 206.859.5777. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Types of Skin Cancer: What You Need to Know
Skin cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the skin. Left untreated, these cells can spread to other tissues and organs, including the lymph nodes and bone. Read on for more information about the three main types of skin cancer and their treatments.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma. Basal cells make up the lowest layer of the skin. Cancer of these cells is known as basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is most common on the head or neck and looks like raised, waxy pink bumps. This type of cancer is extremely common, but is slow growing and hardly ever spreads beyond the tumor site.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Squamous cells reside in the middle layer of the skin. Cancer of these cells, called squamous cell carcinoma, appears as red, scaly, and rough lesions on the hands, head, neck, lips, or ears. It is typically more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma.
- Melanoma. Melanoma occurs in the skin cells that create pigment. It is far more dangerous than the other two types of skin cancer, but is less common. This type of cancer creates abnormal moles or lesions. Dermatologists look for the ABCDE signs of melanoma, which include asymmetrical shape, border irregularities, color, diameter and evolution of the mole.
Treatments for Skin Cancer
The treatments for skin cancer that PD&CC offer vary based on the type of cancer and its severity.
- Mohs Microscopic Surgery. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Mohs surgery is the most effective method for treating basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas. It is also used for certain types of melanoma. A Mohs surgeon uses a scalpel or curette to remove the tumor with a very thin layer of tissue around it. This layer is then immediately checked under a microscope. If the cancer is still present in the surrounding tissue, the procedure is repeated until the last layer viewed under the microscope is free of cancer.
- Excisional Surgery. A dermatologist uses a scalpel to remove the entire growth and a surrounding border. The tissue is then sent to a laboratory to verify that all cancer cells have been removed.
- Curette and Electrodissection. The tumor is scraped off with a curette and a needle sends electrical currents into the skin to destroy any remaining tumor.
Contact the Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center for More Information about Skin Cancer
If you suspect you have skin cancer, contact the Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center immediately. Our offices are located in Seattle, and we can be reached at (206)859-5777.
What does breast cancer have to do with dermatology?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You may be asking "What does that have to do with dermatology?" As a matter of fact, there is an association between breast cancer and melanoma. For years there has been only speculation as to why the two cancers are linked. However, a new very large study has shown a four-fold increase in patients with both cancers than you would expect to see based on probability. The four-fold increase gives a greater likelihood of the two cancers being linked by a genetic predisposition. Additionally, it is found that women under 50 with breast cancer are at a higher risk of melanoma as are breast cancer patients who have been treated with External Radiation Therapy.
Here at Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center, we are joining other dermatologist and oncologists everywhere and urging women to get into the habit of scheduling their annual skin exam at the same time as their mammogram. If you are not of the age to get mammograms yet, we still recommend annual skin exams. Melanoma is the most common cancer in young adults (especially women ages 25-29). Remember that full body skin exams are the best screening tool for Melanoma. Melanomas that are caught early have a much greater change of survival.
Remember to schedule your Mammogram and Skin Exam...and tell your friends!