Friday March 21, 2014
I frequently hear people say that melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. However, merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) are arguably more aggressive than melanomas as a group. Fortunately, it is also a rare form of skin cancer. These cancers are often forgotten about and can present inconspicuously. However, they can spread rapidly and even after cutting them out, they often recur. The first step is recognition of a suspicious growth which your physician can then biopsy. If the biopsy shows MCC, then further work-up occurs, often in conjunction with an oncologist. For a good intro to MCC, refer to our recent article here.
Monday March 17, 2014
The second most common cause of hair loss (aka alopecia) is telogen effluvium. This diagnosis is quite a mouthful, but it literally means shedding of telogen hairs. Our hairs cycle through different phases and we normally have a scalp full of hair in different phases, with one of those phases being telogen. Telogen is the phase where hair is normally shed. In telogen effluvium, many hairs enter this telogen phase at the same time and are then shed at the same time. This condition often follows stressful situations. I've met patients who have gone through surgeries, traumatic accidents, hospitalizations, and stressful personal situations which led to this condition months afterwards. The good news is that telogen effluvium usually corrects itself if the underlying stressor is removed. There's a lot more to telogen effluvium, so if you want to learn more, check out this month's article on telogen effluvium here.
Sunday March 16, 2014
All of us will age. Hopefully we will age with grace and wisdom. But inevitably, with age also comes new blemishes and findings on our skin. One issue that becomes a concern are varicose veins and spider veins of the legs. Some of us are predisposed to these veins through genetics. Others through our occupations, or having carried children. Regardless, there are methods to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. One of these methods is a procedure called sclerotherapy. It's important to seek out a consultation before embarking on this procedure. A knowledgeable surgeon will be able to determine whether you are a proper candidate for this procedure and how best to perform this procedure. Learn more about this procedure and whether it may be right for you through this article on sclerotherapy.
Saturday March 15, 2014
"1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer." Thus runs a headline for the American Academy of Dermatology's SPOT Skin Cancer Initiative. One of the deadliest skin cancers is melanoma. You may wonder, what is the relationship between moles and melanoma? It turns out that individuals with many unusual (atypical) moles are at increased risk of melanomas. Furthermore, we know that around half of melanomas arise from preceding moles. Thus, dermatologists recommend regular skin checks with a knowledgeable skin health care provider and also regular self skin examinations. Knowing your skin empowers you to know when something is new, changing or otherwise unusual. Learn more and empower yourself by reading this article on atypical moles.