Posts Tagged ‘melanoma’

Ban on Tanning Beds

Monday, November 28th, 2011

California’s governor has signed into effect SB 246, which bans the use of tanning beds by anyone under the age of 18- making California the first state to pass such a law.  The bill was the result of efforts by the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery and the Aim at Melanoma Foundation, and had the support of many other groups.  The law won’t take effect until January 1, 2012 and will ban minors from using indoor tanning beds, with the exception of phototherapy prescribed by a doctor.  Research has shown that use of indoor tanning beds has a direct correlation with an increased risk in melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.  


Skin Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

37669_1330426913141_1605037106_30805780_223815_nThink just because you have darker skin that you won’t get skin cancer?  Well you’re wrong, according to an article on MedPage Today (7/19, Walsh). 

The article sites a study published in the Archives of Dermatology and found that people with darker skin are “also at risk for skin cancer” especially in places that are very sunny… like San Diego.

The research, conducted in sunny Florida, showed that the incidence of melanoma increased- most notable was the increase in melanoma in hispanic and african-american individuals. 

Everyone, regradless of skin tone, needs to take sun precautions; wear a wide brimmed hat, wear and re-apply sunscreen every 1-2 hours, and try to avoid being out midday for prolonged periods of time.  Full body exams are strongly recommended at least once a year.

To read the full article, please click on the following link: MedPage Today

New Technology in the Fight Against Melanoma

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Photo of malignant melanoma- notice the irregular border, larger size and irregular color.  Photo courtesy of From Your Doctor Service powered by Vivicare.

Photo of malignant melanoma- notice the irregular border, larger size and irregular color. Photo courtesy of From Your Doctor Service powered by Vivicare.

Although the month of May is officially Skin Cancer Awareness month, the health of your skin deserves attention year-round; especially when you live somewhere like sunny San Diego.  While sunscreen and protective clothing is essential to help protect your skin from skin cancer, it’s reassuring to know that advances are being made in the way skin cancer, specifically malignant melanoma, is being treated.

A report in the Chicago-Sun Times(6/5, Thomas) explained that the incidence of melanoma has increased in the U.S. over the last 30 years.  But a new drug, called Ipilimumab, is showing promise as a treatment for melanoma.  USA Today(6/7, Szabo) describes the new drug as an immune stimulator.  According to the AP(6/7, Marchione), ipilimumab “works by helping the immune system fight tumors.”  The help this drug has offered is to give patients with late stage melanoma a longer life.  Bloomberg News(6/5, Pattypiece) reports that “ipilimumab kept about a quarter of patients battling late-stage melanoma alive for two years- about twice the proportion with current therapies.”

When discussing skin cancer, especially melanoma, we cannot stress the importance of regular skin checks with a dermatologist.  What can you do in between check ups with your doctor?  Know your skin- about every 3 months take a look at you body in the mirror and notice any changes in size, shape, and/or color.  If you do notice any changes, don’t wait the full year until your next skin exam- make an appointment to see your doctor.  Early detection is a key factor in keeping you healthy!

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

It’s time to take a good look at yourself in the mirror… and check for any changing moles or suspicious spots, because May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, in the last decade and a half the number of skin cancers has increased by 350 percent!!  Although May is designated as Skin Cancer Awareness month, you need to be mindful all year long about limiting your sun exposure to avoid becoming a skin cancer statistic.

Here are some facts about the most common types of skin cancers:

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)- Accounts for 80% of all skin cancers and is the most common form of any cancer diagnosed in the United States.  Basal cell carcinomas appear on areas of the body that have received the most sun and are commonly found on the face, scalp, ears, neck, hands and arms.

Photo of a basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

Photo of a basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)- Nearly 250,000 American are diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma each year.  Squamous cell carcinomas appear on areas of the body that have received the most sun and are commonly found on the face, scalp, ears, neck, hands and arms.  Squamous cell can have many different appearances, like:

  • A dry, crusted, scaly patch of skin that is red and swollen at the base
  • A sore that won’t heal
  • Crusted skin
  • A thickened, crusty patch of skin with a raised border with a pebbly, granular base
Photo of a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Photo of a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Melanoma (MM)-  The most serious type of skin cancer because it can metastasize (spread) quickly.  Change in the size, shape, color, or feel of an existing mole could be an indication of melanoma.  Moles that are exhibiting any of those characteristics should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

It’s important to have a full body exam done once a year, or as often as needed, as advised by your dermatologist.  Skin cancers, especially melanoma, can be treated when caught early.

In addition to regular skin exams, here are some important tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation (   to practice safe sun this summer:

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

To learn more you can visit our website: derm sd medical glossary or visit the Skin Cancer Foundation at:

Full body exams vital in detection of melanoma

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

A new study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that most melanomas diagnosed were found as a result of a full body exam initiated by the doctor.   The study consisted of 126 patients attending a private dermatology practice in Florida.

“Overall, 56.3 percent (n=71) of the melanomas were detected by the examining dermatologist whilst doing a FBSE and were secondary to the presenting complaint.”

The authors of the study determined that “a greater number of the physician-detected melanomas were in situ and therefore at an earlier and more treatable stage.”

To read the full study please click on the link below:  contact-us

Archives of Dermatology

Don’t forget to schedule your yearly skin check !