Tag Archives: skin cancer

skin cancer

The Burning Issue of Sun Damage, Skin Cancer

By Kristine Cannon & Remi Omodara

Summer: the season for temporary solutions — such as that crash diet to slim down for your leave-little-to-the-imagination bikini; and, let’s not forget about those days spent tanning either on the beach or in the tanning booth, just for a bit more color.

While some bad habits can be forgiven and forgotten, others can lead to long-term damage, such as skin cancers.

“They’re going to get a temporary tan,” says Dr. Lorna Frederickson, M.D., FAAD of Arizona Skincare Physicians, PLC, “but sustain permanent injury to their skin. You can’t really repair all of the cell damage.”

According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), there were more than 2.6 million skin cancer treatments in 2011 performed by ASDS members in the United States, with 2.49 million of them for non-melanomas.

Closer to home, Frederickson says the number of skin cancers they’ve diagnosed and treated at the practice has increased. She goes on to say that women as early in their 20s are developing multiple skin cancers, likely due to tanning bed use.

“Natural or indoor tanning is probably the leading contributing cause to aging of the skin,” Frederickson says. “It’s something people should stop doing, not just for the photo damage, freckling, loss of elasticity and wrinkling, but also because of skin cancer risks.”

And once those in their late 30s or 40s has endured an excess of sun or tanning bed exposure, racking up a fair amount of skin damage, Frederickson says one of the best ways to treat it is with laser treatment.

One of the most common laser treatments at Arizona Skincare Physicians is Fraxel Dual 1550/1927, which stimulates the growth of new, healthy skin cells from the inside out. It targets aging and sun-damaged skin with microscopic laser columns that penetrate deep into one’s skin to expedite the body’s remodeling of collagen. And according to Scottsdale plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Ptak M.D., F.A.C.S., collagen is an important element to younger, healthier skin.

“The skin is like a sponge,” Ptak says. “Loss of collagen combined with sun damage can age the skin quickly.”

Frederickson adds that both young and older patients, who have discoloration from the sun, pre-cancers, blotchiness and freckling, can benefit from the Fraxel Dual laser treatment due to how safe it is and its minimal downtime.

“It’s great for younger patients because they don’t need aggressive lasers,” Frederickson says. “I will also use it on patients in their 80s because they don’t want a lot of downtime, or they have a lot of medial issues — or for a whole host of issues.”

To avoid skin cancer risks and sun-damaged skin, Frederickson says to not only stay away from indoor tanning, but to also not smoke.

“The only other thing besides ultraviolet light is smoking,” Frederickson says, “and the two together have a negative synergy and magnify one another’s ill effects.”

Other tips from Ptak to keep your skin hydrated and healthy include decreasing caffeine intake, drinking more water and using sunscreen.

Lastly, Frederickson advises to consult a skincare professional with any questions or concerns you may have, as well as for smaller, noninvasive treatments, such as botulinum injections or Botox.

“I see a fair number of women who have gone outside of a core speciality,” Frederickson adds. “I’m negative about the many spas because I end up fixing a lot of problems out of there.”

For more information about sun damage and/or skin cancer, visit azskincareplc.com or doctorptak.com.

Arizona Skincare Physicians, PLC
10565 N. Tatum Blvd., Paradise Valley
(480) 991-3203

Jeffrey J. Ptak M.D., F.A.C.S., Plasic Surgery
9431 E. Ironwood Square Dr., Scottsdale
(480) 451-9220

Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2012

American Academy of Dermatology Releases Skin Cancer Self-Exam Video

American Academy of Dermatology Releases Skin Cancer Self-Exam Video

Summer has come to a close, and fall is upon us here in the Valley. And it couldn’t have been a better time for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to release a new video titled, “Skin Self-Exam: How to Do,” which demonstrates how to check your skin for cancer and what to look for.

With skin cancer the most common cancer in the United States, it takes just a few minutes, your eyes and a mirror to check your skin for cancer. Solicit the help of a friend or partner for an extra set of eyes in order to check more hard-to-see areas, including your back.

American Academy of Dermatology’s “Skin Self-Exam: How To Do” Video:

When examining the skin, follow AAD’s ABCDEs of Melanoma:

If any moles exhibit the following signs, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

A = Asymmetry. Photo: AAD.org

A = Asymmetry

One half is unlike the other half.

B = Border. Photo: AAD.org

B = Border

The spot has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

C = Color. Photo: AAD.org

C = Color

Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.

D = Diameter. Photo: AAD.org

D= Diameter

Melanomas usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E = Evolving. Photo: AAD.org

E = Evolving

A mole or spot on your skin that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

How to Check for Spots:

When checking your skin, look at all of the spots on your body; this includes moles, freckles and age spots.

  1. Examine body front and back in mirror, then right and left sides, arms raised.
  2. Bend elbows, look carefully at forearms, back of upper arms, and palms.
  3. Look at backs of legs and feet,spaces between toes, and soles.
  4. Examine back of neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair and lift.
  5. Finally, check back and buttocks with a hand mirror.

*Source: American Academy of Dermatology

For more information about the American Academy of Dermatology, visit AAD.org.

health screenings

Top 5 Health Screenings Every Woman Should Have

Preventative health screenings are important but there is conflicting information about who needs them, when the right time is to get screened and how often certain tests should be done. May is National Women’s Health Month so it’s time to set the record straight and take health matters into your own hands.

“Preventative health screenings are crucial but often confusing for my female patients,” said Dr. Angela DeRosa, president and chief managing officer of DeRosa Medical, P.C., a private women’s heath medical practice in Scottsdale and Sedona. “Routine tests are our best defense for early diagnosis of disease and in-turn higher successful treatment rates if something is detected. Women need to make their health a priority and National Women’s Health month is a great time to do that.”

Dr. DeRosa suggests these Top 5 health screenings for her patients:

1. Heart disease is the number one killer of women throughout the world, six-times more likely to cause death than breast cancer. Based on these statistics, women over the age of 50 should have an electrocardiogram (EKG) yearly.

2. Skin cancer screenings must be conducted every year no matter what your age. The American Cancer Society anticipates Arizona will have 1,650 new cases of melanoma in 2012.

3. Pap smears should be done annually between the ages of 21 and 30 and then every 3 years in patients older than 30, providing they are in a monogamous relationship and have a history of normal pap smears.

4. Starting at age 40, mammograms need to be performed every other year and annually after age 50.

5. A colonoscopy should be performed at age 50 to screen for colon cancer. After a baseline is established, follow up tests should be done every 5-10 years.

“You can never be too careful when it comes to your health,” added DeRosa. “Just this year I discovered a melanoma on a patient’s stomach during a routine skin cancer exam. She had been told by another physician that it was nothing to worry about.”

May 13-19, 2012 also marks the 10th annual National Women’s Health Week designed to empower women of all ages to take control of their own health needs through health screenings, being active, eating right and prioritizing mental well-being.