Tuesday, July 26, 2011

People of Color and Skin Cancer

By the year 2050, the United States Census Bureau predicts that the population will be 50 percent Hispanic, Asian, or African American. That is why now, more than ever, we must raise awareness of the potential for life-threatening skin cancers in people of color.

It has for a long time been an urban myth that only Caucasians are susceptible to skin cancer. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! It is true that people of color are less likely to develop skin cancer due to the genetic makeup of their skin. But this also means that people of color who develop skin cancer are more likely to die from it due to delays in detection and difficulty seeing moles and spots on their skin.

The skin is made up of the epidermis, the dermis, and fat layers. In the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, cells called melanocytes are produced. It is these cells, melanocytes, which determine the amount of melanin or pigment in the skin. The more melanin that is present, the darker the skin will be.

It is melanin that helps defend our skin against the harmful effects from the sun which cause skin cancer. In many ways, it is your own personal SPF. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “in African American skin, melanin provides a sun protection factor approximately equivalent to 13.4, compared to 3.4 in white skin.”

There are several forms of skin cancer. The most common is basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and the second most common is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). There are also other skin cancers, including melanoma. Just as there are various types of skin cancer, those who are affected by them vary too.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer among African Americans. When people of color are exposed to certain skin conditions that prevent complete healing, such as scarring, burn tissue, and ulcerations, there is not the same level of melanin as before. Therefore, the person has a higher likelihood of developing very aggressive skin cancer that can eventually spread to other places on the body and lead to death. As we said before, these are more likely due to late detection which can often mean it is too late for treatment.

No one is immune to skin cancer, be sure to check your skin regularly and visit your dermatologist at least once a week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Say Good-Bye to Your Spider Veins

Dr. Miller is excited to welcome Dr. Kelli Favata to the Greenville Dermatology practice for a limited time this summer. Dr. Favata is a specialist in sclerotherapy, a treatment for the removal of spider veins and smaller varicose veins.

Spider veins are caused by weak vascular walls and inefficient circulation. Small to medium spider veins are removed by injecting a sterile chemical sclerant. This irritates the lining of the vein vessels causing it to become inflamed, harden, and then fade away completely. Outward appearance and the pain associated with problem veins can be significantly reduced with this procedure.

Nearly everyone is eligible for treatment, unless they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Sclerotherapy can be performed on the hands, arms, face, legs, and other delicate areas. The injection process is typically complete in just 15 to 30 minutes. Minor stinging and burning are common during and after the procedure, but are short lived.

Dr. Favata will be at Greenville Dermatology from July 18th to the end of August, so call and make your appointment today!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Questions to Ask Before Getting Cosmetic Dermatology

Deciding to undergo cosmetic dermatology is an important decision. Before you jump into it, there are a few questions you should ask your doctor.

Questions you should ask:

1. Do you know your dermatologist?
It’s ok to ask for a background or examples of past work. It’s your body so you need to be comfortable.

2. What are your options?
Ask your doctor about your treatment options and which he/she would recommend for you. This includes both products and costs that you are agree with.

3. Who administers the procedure?
If your doctor isn’t the one who will be with you on the day of your procedure, find out who will be and ask to meet him or her. It can also be reassuring to ask where your procedure will take place so you know what to expect.

4. What are the typical results?
Always ask about the recovery process and be aware of any potential side effects. You should know what to expect and be prepared

Your dermatologist should also ask you some questions:

1. What is your medical history?
Your dermatologist should know your complete medical history before performing any procedure.

2. What results are you looking for?
Your dermatologist should care about what is important to you.

3. Do you have any questions or concerns?
Your dermatologist should be willing to give you ample time and his or her full attention to make sure your questions are answered and you are confident in your decision.

Remember: You’re in charge of your body. Take control and be confident in your decisions by choosing the right dermatologist and asking the right questions!