Skin Cancer Screening
“It’s alarming to know that roughly 10,000 melanoma related deaths will occur this year. Knowledge is power. In this case, knowledge can and will save your life.” See your dermatologist annually for a complete skin cancer screening to track your moles and ensure any changes aren’t cancerous.
According to the American Cancer Society (A.C.S), the rates of melanoma have been rising for at least 30 years. A.C.S project’s that about 76,100 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 43, 890 in men and 32, 210 in women) and about 9,710 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,470 men and 3,240 women).
A skin-cancer screening doesn’t need to be a scary thing. It’s a 15-minute appointment, and now with the development of the first FDA-approved, noninvasive diagnostic tool, MelaFind, it can save the patient from an unnecessary biopsy. The device revolutionized the way dermatologists practice medicine and conduct skin cancer surveillance. It features smart imaging technology that picks up on the disorganization of molesdeep below the surface- deeper than a dermatologist can see with a naked eye or dermatoscope.
A patient should always inquire about what they should be looking for regarding changing moles, so they can actively be on the lookout for irregular changes at home. This makes catching a potential skin cancer all that easier. It’s important to check your own skin, at least once a month in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror.
Dr. Russak is one of few doctors trained and practicing with the MelaFind®, a melanoma detection device that can save a patient from an unnecessary biopsy. In the most curable form, melanoma may look like harmless irregular moles to the human eye, but left untreated in this early state, melanoma can spread very quickly. Despite public awareness campaigns regarding sun safety and the use of tanning salons, both the incidence and mortality from melanoma is on the rise, especially among young women. As a result, we encourage our patients to “know their skin” and schedule routine skin cancer screenings at least once a year.
Detecting melanoma with the human eye can be challenging. In an effort to offer our patients the most effective care, we are pleased to offer the MelaFind® in our practice. MelaFind® is the latest smart technology for melanoma detection used by dermatologists during a skin exam to see beneath the surface of the skin and help analyze irregular moles without cutting the skin – very much like a mini MRI of the skin, without radiation.
The device uses computer vision technology that provides dermatologists with additional information about a mole, which helps them determine whether to biopsy the mole or monitor it with the potential to prevent unnecessary biopsies. It’s quick, non-invasive and painless for patients.
Everyone is at risk for potentially developing melanoma. With MelaFind®, we can now detect potential melanoma at its most curable and treatable stages.
Skin Cancer Surgery/MOHS Surgery
Dr. Russak, a dermatologic surgeon, provides skin cancer surgery on the premises. The clinic also provides MOHS surgery.
Today, Mohs surgery has come to be accepted as the single most effective technique for removing Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (BCCs and SCCs), the two most common skin cancers. It accomplishes the nifty trick of sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue while also most completely expunging cancer cells; cure rates for BCC and SCC are an unparalleled 98 percent or higher with Mohs, significantly better than the rates for standard excision or any other accepted method (skincancer.org).
PDT Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Ideal For: Effectively evens out skin’s texture, while treating pre-cancerous cells and minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. PDT is also used in treating acne, rosacea, sun damage and other skin conditions on the face, décolletage, hands and body.
How They Work: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a medical treatment that utilizes a Levulan Kerastick, a photosensitizing drug that becomes activated by light exposure and a light source to activate the drug. Very thin superficial skin cancers called actinic keratosis and certain other types of cancer cells can be eliminated this way. Aesthetic concerns such as wrinkles, texture, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores and acne can also be treated as well. The procedure is easily performed in a physician’s office.
What To Expect: PDT is a three-step treatment. First, a light-sensitizing liquid, is applied to the area. Second, there is an incubation period of about an hour. Finally, the target tissue is then exposed to a specific wavelength of light that then activates the photosensitizing medication.
The Recovery: The treated area is very delicate and should be treated gently. Burning/stinging, which could be severe, may last up to 24 hours after the treatment and should be progressively improving. After treatment, you may experience redness for a few days to 2-3 weeks.
Ideal For: This cream is effective for the noninvasive treatment of actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinoma on the face and blading scalp. Also ideal for patients who seek reduction of skin crepiness, dullness and discoloration due to photodamage in areas with prolonged exposure to the sun, such as the décolletage, face and balding scalp.
How They Work: Zyclara contains the active ingredient of the imiquimod molecule, which is induces the body’s cell immune response to eliminate precancerous lesions (actinic keratosis), cancerous lesions (basal cell carcinoma) as well areas of photodamaged skin, due to its antitumoral and antiviral activities in the body.
What To Expect: The induction of the immune response may cause flu-like symptoms, as well as local skin reactions such as mild skin irritation, itching, dryness, flaking, scabbing, crusting, redness, or hardening of the skin where the medicine was applied.
Treatment Protocol: The area of treatment will be washed with mild soap and water and allow the area to dry. Approximately .5 g (2 pumps or 2 packets) of Imiquimod cream will be applied in a thin layer onto the affected area using gloves or thoroughly washed hands. The cream will be rubbed in a manual massage for 30 seconds to ensure that is thoroughly absorbed at the site of treatment. Discomfort will be assessed during treatment (10 minutes after treatment starts, and as needed. At the end of the treatment session, the patient will be advised to leave the cream on the affected area over night for about 8 hours. After about 8 hours, the patient will be advised to wash the treated area with mild soap or water and to not leave 2.5% Imiquimod cream on the skin longer than prescribed.
The Recovery: The patient will continue treatment of applying the 2.5% Imiquimod cream on the area of treatment once daily for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks of no treatment for recovery for a total timeframe prescribed by the doctor. Early discontinuation of treatment may occur due to discomfort, and reconvened upon discretion of the doctor.
The Results: The treatment brightens dull and uneven skin tone, enhances the texture of crepey, photodamaged skin and removes lesions of actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinoma for the emergence of younger, healthier looking skin.