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Skin Cancer

How common is skin cancer?
Skin cancer has been on the rise, with over 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed in more than two million people in the US every year. That constitutes a 300% increase over the past 20 years. Skin cancer is the world’s most common cancer. It is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of Americans who live to 65 will have had at least one incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in their lives.

What are the most common forms of skin cancer?
The non-melanoma skin cancers—basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma—are the most common forms of the disease and easily treated when detected early. More than 80% of all skin cancers detected are basal cell carcinoma. Approximately 120,000 cases of melanoma are detected every year in the US. Almost 9,000 die from it. When diagnosed early, melanoma is almost always curable.

Does skin cancer spread from one part of the body to another?
It depends on the type of skin cancer you have. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and grows very slowly in one location. However, treatment is very important as this cancer can destroy surrounding skin tissue and bone as it grows. Squamous cell carcinoma is a more invasive type of skin cancer and can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated, but has a high cure rate when treated early. Melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer and can spread quickly and spread to other parts of the body. When Melanoma spreads it can be deadly, but with early detection and treatment the cure rate is very high.

If I was diagnosed with a skin cancer, do my chances of getting another one increase?
If you have had any form of skin cancer in the past, you have a higher risk of developing another and should be screened more regularly.With any type of skin cancer, the earlier it is detected and treated, the better the outcome. Three simple rules to live by… prevention… detection… recognition.

How can I protect myself from skin cancer?
The best defense against skin cancer is staying out of direct sun at all times and wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher whenever you go outside. Also, do not smoke.

Are tanning beds safe?”]No form of tanning is considered safe. Indoor tanning is suspected of causing over 170,000 cases of non-melanoma cancer in the US each year.

How often should I have my skin screened for skin cancer?

You should do a head-to-toe step-by-step self-examination every month to look for any unusual spots or changing lesions.

You should start having regular skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist starting in your late teens. Your doctor will let you know how often you should be professionally screened, based on your family history and skin type.

Acne

How common is acne?
Acne is the most common skin condition among young people and is on the rise in adults over 25. It affects over 80% of teenagers to some degree. Approximately 30% of teenagers have severe enough symptoms to seek medical treatment.

Does a bad diet cause acne?
There is no hard evidence that acne is caused by the food you eat. However, there is evidence showing that eating an excessive amount of sugar or dairy products might aggravate acne in some individuals who already have the condition.

Are blackheads related to pimples?
A blackhead (known as an open comedone) is an enlarged, blocked sebaceous follicle that appears dark because of the oxidized material trapped in the pore on the skin’s surface. A blackhead is not an indication of dirty skin and usually does not go on to form pimples. Whiteheads (closed comedones) can form pimples and other manifestations of inflammatory acne.

Can stress cause acne?
Stress does not cause acne but can aggravate it, most likely by altering the hormonal environment within the body.

What is the most effective over-the-counter medication for treating individual pimples?
You can spot treat individual pimples with creams, gels or lotions that contain benzoyl peroxide.

What is the most effective over-the-counter medication for severe acne?
Severe acne requires prescription medication management, preferably under the care of a dermatologist. Even mild acne can often benefit from consultation with a dermatologist, especially if it is not improving with over-the-counter treatment.

How do you treat severe acne?
For severe cases, acne extraction or surgery can provide the most immediate relief. The treatment is followed by a prescription medication that prevents the formation of new pimples and treats new acne. We might also recommend blue light therapy, which kills the acne bacterium that grows inside clogged pores.

Medications include topical retinoids, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics and Accutane. Your dermatologist will prescribe the medication that is right for your skin type and condition. It can often take experimentation to find the right treatment.

Does tanning or a tanning booth reduce acne?
Will I improve my acne by sitting in the sun or under a tanning lamp? There is no strong evidence that it will help and a lot more evidence that excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, outdoors or indoors, increases the risk of developing skin cancer and accelerates aging of the skin. Therefore, we strongly recommend against sitting in the sun or in a tanning booth for any reason.

How can I make my skin less oily?
Your sebaceous (oil) glands are responsible for the amount of oil your skin produces and that can’t be controlled by medication. You can temporarily reduce the amount of oil on your skin with one of the over-the-counter skin toners and astringents that contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids.

Chronic Skin Conditions

How can you tell the difference between eczema and psoriasis?
Eczema and psoriasis can look very similar to the untrained eye. Typically, eczema begins at an earlier age, often in infancy or childhood. Children with a family history of allergies and asthma may be at greater risk for contracting it. In adults, eczema presents as an intensely itchy rash that often involves the elbow creases, area behind the knees, and the neck.

The onset of psoriasis more commonly occurs during the early adult years. It presents as red plaques with thick, white scale on the extensor parts of the elbows and knees. It can also involve the scalp and appear like bad dandruff. Psoriasis generally does not cause itching.

Both eczema and psoriasis have a genetic component and can vary in severity based on the season.

Is there an effective over-the-counter medication for treating psoriasis?
Tar based shampoos, cortisone containing creams, and high quality moisturizers might be beneficial in some mild cases of psoriasis.

How do you treat psoriasis medically?
In addition to traditional topical treatments, we might recommend the use of an immunosuppressant drug or an injection or intravenous (IV) infusion of the one of the latest biologic treatments, such as Enbrel, Stelara, Humira and Remicade.

How do you treat eczema?
The first line of defense against eczema is the avoidance of irritants, bathing in warm rather than hot water and the liberal use of moisturizers. Depending on your age and the severity of your condition, we may recommend the cautious use of topical steroids, antihistamines, antibiotics or bleach baths.

What is rosacea?
Often referred to as “adult acne,” Rosacea is a common skin condition that may present as red, swollen, or bumpy skin. It often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more eas¬ily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Pustules may also be present in more severe cases.

How do you treat rosacea?
We can help you identify and avoid triggers for rosacea flair-ups, which might include skin care products, sun exposure, foods, stress, strenuous exercise or temperature extremes. For treatment of the condition, we may recommend topical medications or antibiotics.