May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer. The good news is it is almost always curable if found early. That’s why self-skin exams at home and professional skin exams in a dermatology office are so important.
Health First Dermatology’s Dr. Larry Bishop and Dr. Anita Saluja are board certified, award-winning dermatologists. Dr. Bishop believes the best way to prevent skin cancer is to start early preventing direct ultraviolet damage to skin.
“That means applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, avoiding sun in peak hours of the day and avoiding tanning beds,” said Dr. Bishop.
But avoiding the sun completely especially in Florida is difficult to do.
“Some companies offer sun protective products including clothing, hats, swimwear, sunglasses and umbrellas that allow people to enjoy life in the sun,” Dr. Saluja said. “You only need 15 minutes per day for proper Vitamin D absorption.”
Dr. Saluja also says an oral supplement, such as Heliocare, can be taken once or twice a day. It contains natural antioxidants that are derived from a fern native to Central/South America. It is used in addition to topical sunscreen because it benefits skin over your entire body. The supplements are not a sunscreen and should be used in addition to topical sun protection.
Dr. Saluja and Dr. Bishop recommend a self-skin exam every month and once a year patients should be checked by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. People should look for changes to their skin.
Health First Dermatology offers a “SpotOne Clinic” that allows for patients to be seen for their one spot of concern within 24 hours of calling. “We tell patients if you have a pink spot on your skin that hasn’t healed in three or four weeks, it needs to be checked for skin cancer or precancerous lesions,” Dr. Saluja said, adding that you can call (321) 757-5141 for the SpotOne Clinic.
Like other medical fields, technology is playing a big role in improving the detection and treatment of skin cancer. Melafind is the only non-invasive skin analysis high tech system with FDA approval to evaluate peculiar moles for potential melanoma. Its goal is diagnosing melanoma at earlier stages.
“It helps the doctor ‘see through’ in a more thorough way, plus it analyzes the data to give a measure of how ‘risky’ the mole is,” Dr. Saluja explained.
Additionally, DX Melanoma is a new gene test designed to help predict the five year risk of recurrence based on the biology of the patient’s tumor in patients with Stage I or Stage II melanoma. By knowing if a patient is high or low risk for spread, doctors can adjust evaluation, treatment strategies and follow up.
“During the discussion at a recent conference on melanoma, the consensus was clear – tests like Decision DX Melanoma will be the wave of the future,” said Dr. Bishop.
Dermatologists are always looking for new ways to treat skin cancer. Currently both surgical and nonsurgical methods are used. Although most methods are not new, they are always evolving and improving. Usually there is one choice that is superior to another depending on location, size and patient health.
“Even though we are on the brink of a technological revolution regarding the diagnosis of skin cancer, the techniques for detection still seem to be dependent upon the evaluation of moles and skin lesions by competent clinicians,” said Dr. Bishop.
Health First Dermatology prides itself in meeting the highest possible standards using innovative, safe, and effective care in the treatment and prevention of conditions of the skin. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit YourSkinOurCare.com or call (321) 751-9097 for Dr. Larry Bishop or (321) 757-5141 for Dr. Anita Saluja.