Posts for: December, 2019
If you had a cancerous skin lesion, would you know it? Here at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ, Dr. Vernon Thomas Mackey educates his patients about skin cancer, including on how to recognize prevent it. After all, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that 9500 new cases are diagnosed in the US every day. Therefore, no one can ignore the threat of skin cancer.
Kinds of skin cancer
The most common type of skin malignancy is basal cell carcinoma, followed closely by squamous cell carcinoma. While neither is necessarily life-threatening, both require prompt detection and treatment.
Malignant melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that, if left undetected, spreads quickly to other areas of the body, including major organs such as the brain. The American Society of Clinical Oncology mentions that while melanoma accounts for only one percent of skin cancer diagnoses, it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.
What you should look for
Most people develop skin cancer on areas of the body that are prominently exposed to sunlight—ears, shoulders, and face to name a few. However, you could acquire lesions anywhere, so it's critical for you to both inspect your skin for changes on a monthly basis as well as see Dr. Mackey for an annual skin cancer check-up in his Peoria office.
At home, take note of freckles, spots, or moles that itch, burn, or bleed. Sores that do not heal within a week or so are suspicious as well. The American Academy of Dermatology advises using this mnemonic to evaluate your moles or skin spots at home:
- A means asymmetry. The left side of the cancerous mole is not equal in size and shape to the other side.
- B means border. Healthy moles have smooth edges. Cancerous ones have notched or irregular ones.
- C stands for color. A mole that changes in color over time or has many colors throughout should be checked by your physician.
- D means diameter. Healthy moles are no larger than a pencil eraser or pea.
- E equals evolution. Has your mole changed in size, shape or texture?
Preventing skin cancer
The team at Advanced Desert Dermatology recommends the following tips to prevent skin cancer:
- Stay inside or seek shade at peak sun times--between 10 am to 4 pm.
- Cover up if you must be in the sun.
- Wear an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen.
- Re-apply sunscreen lotion every two hours, whenever sweating or after swimming.
- Avoid sunburns.
If you are concerned at any time about a spot on your skin, see Dr. Mackey right way. Dial (823) 977-6700 today to set up an appointment with Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ.
Do you have itchy, scaly rashes? If so, you could have eczema, a common skin condition that could be effectively treated by your dermatologist. Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, and it can be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to harsh chemicals. Dry skin can also affect your skin’s ability to form a barrier to allergens, which can lead to eczema. Another common cause of eczema is genetics. If someone in your family suffers from eczema, it increases your chances of developing eczema as well. Immune system problems can also cause eczema.
Both adults and children can develop eczema, however, children are most often affected, especially before they reach the age of five. Eczema develops into a chronic skin condition, with intermittent flare-ups. These flare-ups can often be accompanied by hay fever or asthma.
There are many common signs and symptoms of eczema, including:
- Reddish-brown patches on your feet, hands, ankles, knees, chest, elbows, face, and scalp
- Chronic, severe itching which often worsens at night
- Inflamed, raw, red, sensitive, and swollen skin
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin patches on various areas of your body
- Bumps appearing on your skin which drain fluid and crust over later
For mild cases of eczema, there are a few simple home remedies you can try, including:
- Taking over-the-counter antihistamine medications
- Smoothing calamine or other anti-itch lotion over your skin
- Applying moisturizer when you take a shower
- Applying cool, wet dressings and bandages to affected areas
- Taking a warm baking soda or oatmeal bath
- Placing a humidifier in your home to moisten dry air
- Wearing breathable, cool, cotton clothing
For moderate to severe cases of eczema, you should visit your dermatologist. There are several effective professional treatments your dermatologist may recommend, such as:
- Prescription-strength oral and topical medications to stop itching
- Antibiotic medications to eliminate any underlying infection
- Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain
- Corticosteroid dressings to reduce inflammation
- Natural light or ultraviolet therapy to reduce or eliminate skin patches
You don’t have to suffer with eczema when relief is just a phone call away. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of eczema by calling your dermatologist today!