Why You Might Be Missing Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer. Catching it early is critical. The best way to find melanoma is to check your moles using the ABCDs. However, nodular melanomas can be trickier to find. A recent study from the Archives of Dermatology suggest that we might be missing these nodular melanomas which might be the reason why the death rate for melanoma has not improved in 20 years. How can we find nodular melanomas? Add “E” to your ABCDs.

  • Is the mole Asymmetric?
  • Does it have irregular Borders?
  • Does it have more than one Color?
  • Is the Diameter larger than 6 mm?
  • Is it Evolving (changing) or Elevated?
If it has any of the above and you have any concerns, then make an appointment to see a doctor. If a mole has 2 or more of the above, then it is by definition atypical and it must be checked by a physician.

In this video I’ll explain how examining your moles for the ABCDEs is the best way to catch melanomas as early as possible and to minimize the chances that it has spread.

Five Things You Should Know About Facial Redness

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Despite its association with passion, love, and vibrancy the color red is not what most people want to see on their faces when they look in the mirror. Redness on your face develops from inflammation and from dilated tiny blood vessels right at the surface of your skin. Sometimes the redness can be sudden, whereas other times it can develop slowly over many years.┬áHere are five things your should know about facial redness and what to do about it. Continue reading “Five Things You Should Know About Facial Redness”

R U TAKING UR MEDS?

Are you taking your medications? Probably not.

In a recent dermatology study, a mere 50% of adults and 30% of children were still using their medications 8 weeks after they were prescribed.

But what if I sent you a text to remind you? Would you be more likely to take your meds or use your creams?

Taking medications or applying creams takes effort and discipline. Unless you form a new habit and apply your medication or take your pills at the same time everyday, it is unlikely you will persist. It is similar to exercising — if you exercise at different times and different days, then it is much more difficult to stay exercising than if you developed a habit and did it as part of your daily routine.

There might be a new way to help encourage people to get into a habit of taking their medication everyday: text them.

A recent study presented at a Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting showed that texting patients actually improves compliance (that is, the likelihood that they will take their medication). In the study, 70 cell phone users were randomized to receive a text message reminder to apply sunscreen everyday or to not receive the text reminder.

At the end of 6 weeks those who received the text reminder were more likely to apply their sunscreen as compared to those who did not receive the text. In the text group, people used the sunscreen 56% of the time while in the control group they used it only 30% of the time.

The researchers cleverly attached the weather forecast to the text message to make the message more useful and to encourage people to open the message and read it. The act of opening and reading the message everyday helped them get into the habit of applying the sunscreen everyday, improving their compliance.

In my practice more and more patients use email to communicate with me. Texting might be another way to communicate with patients to help them be more compliant with their therapy.

You can’t text me, but you can twit me if you like.

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Photo: Sintex

How to Get Into Dermatology: A Life Hack

surgeon.jpgDermatologists love to cite that the most difficult specialty to get into is dermatology. There is no way to prove this and of course other specialties such as Plastic and Orthopaedic Surgery are also highly competitive. Continue reading “How to Get Into Dermatology: A Life Hack”