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Get Your Men Completely Undressed for a Skin Cancer Screening Memphis Dermatologist

 -George Woodbury Jr. M.D. 04/02/2024


Today’s the best day for you to get the men in your life completely undressed – for your own Skin Cancer Screening because the number of cases of both Melanoma and Skin Cancer continues to rise, particularly in men above the age of 50. I’m talking about your own top-to-bottom inspection, looking for moles or skin growths that might be significant for Skin Cancer and Melanoma.

 




Why is running your own Skin Cancer Screening at home so important?


As a Board-certified Memphis Dermatologist let me share with you several key facts that could save your family members’ lives. An American dies from Melanoma about every fifty minutes. These people’s lives could many times be saved by early treatment. Most cases of Melanoma – the most aggressive type of Skin Cancer – are diagnosed later in men than in women – leading to more difficult treatment and a higher fatality rate. Men are a high-risk group due to their higher danger of developing Melanoma and their higher danger of being diagnosed late. That’s why the men in your life really need your help!

 



So let’s take a look at several key pointers on detecting Melanoma and Skin Cancer early; my own Dermatology practice has been with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova, TN 38018, since 1993 (a suburb of Memphis, TN; 1-901-753-0168; www.Rheumderm.com):



 

Key point #1:  What is Melanoma?


Sometimes called Melanoma Cancer, what are Melanoma Symptoms?

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of Skin Cancer, originating from the pigment-producing cells of the Skin, the Melanocytes, which occur in the skin's Epidermis and Dermis. Ironically, those same cells that make the Skin’s protective pigment, Melanin, against Ultraviolet damage sometimes go haywire and become malignant or cancerous themselves. Other important types of Skin Cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma, much more common than Melanoma and also caused by UV rays but less prone to be deadly.




Key point #2: Who’s at risk of Melanoma and Skin Cancer?


The real question is, “Who’s at ESPECIALLY high risk?" the reality is that we’re ALL at risk of Melanoma and Skin Cancer, not just fair-complected people.



The traditional “especially high-risk” people for the development of Melanoma and Skin Cancer include:


  • Red-heads and blonde individuals, but in reality, most cases occur in those with brown, black, or gray-haired individuals because there are a lot more brunettes out there. 

  • People with Scotch-Irish, English, German, or Scandinavian ancestry remember that the famous Afro-Caribbean Reggae musician Bob Marley died of Melanoma at the age of 36 from a spot that originated on his foot.  

  • People who tend to burn or peel in the sun, especially those with a history of blistering sunburns. 

  • People who have worked in or played in the sun or those who have lived in Sunbelt states like Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona, including golfers, cyclists, skiers, sailors, and tennis players. 

 



 

 




Key Point #3: How can you prevent Melanoma?

The best moves in prevention of Melanoma and Skin Cancer include: 

  • Avoidance of midday sun between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. 

  • Proper use of “broad-spectrum sunscreen” protects against both traditional UVB rays and also against the newly-appreciated-as-also dangerous UVA rays. Look for an SPF or Sun Protection Factor of 30 or higher.  Remember to reapply every ninety minutes.

 




A personal favorite sunscreen, less likely to run into one’s eyes, is Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 50, now available through Big River Silk Skincare (www.Bigriversilkskincare.com), an organic and natural skincare products manufacturer and distributor of which I have been president since 2016 (3.5 oz=$18.95) 

 

It’s a wise move in the Summer to practice “sun protection” meaning wearing sun-protective clothing when out. Blue, black, or orange Rayon-base, Nylon-based, or Cotton-based fabrics seem most helpful, particularly after they have been laundered several times. 

 

Remember to reapply your sunscreen, for both yourself and your children, every 90 minutes when out. And it takes about 2 ounces to cover a full-sized adult adequately.  



Key Point #4: Spotting a suspicious lesion for Melanoma or Skin Cancer early is key to effective treatment.

 

So, what do you look for in your own Skin Cancer Screening?  A good rule of thumb for people to use at home is the “A, B, C, D, E’s,” first described by Drs. Al Knopf and Darrell Rigel of New York University: 


  • A=Asymmetry: the profile of one half of the lesion doesn’t match the other half. 

  • B=Border irregularity: the profile of the margins of the lesion is jagged, like the coast of Maine, rather than smooth, like the coast of California. 

  • C=Color Variation: different hues of brown, black, gray, or purple,  

  • D=Darker Color, when compared with the person’s other moles, or D=Diameter is enlarging, and  

  • E=Evolving or changing lesion. 




But an Important Warning: some Melanomas and Skin Cancers like “Amelanotic Melanoma” do not show any of the A, B, C, D, or E characteristics. If you or a family member is especially high risk, do your own checks at home, but also definitely get checked periodically by a Board-certified Dermatologist.  



 


Advances in Dermatologic Surgery have improved our abilities as Dermatologists to improve Melanoma Treatment and Skin Cancer Treatment. Most Skin Cancers and Melanomas are treated with “excisional surgery,” whereby the Dermatologist cuts out the malignant cells under local anesthetic, out-patient.


Mohs Surgery, available in my own Memphis Dermatology practice since 2004, is a way of checking the margins of tissue removed while the patient is still in the office. Our goal is to clear the surgical margins of malignant skin cells. We can even treat “pre-malignant” skin growths, like Solar Keratosis or Actinic Keratosis, with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) or prescription creams: Efudex, Fluoroplex, Imiquimod (Aldara), and Retin A (Tretinoin).  

 



Key Point #5: Melanoma and Skin Cancer can develop on any part of the body


However, the highest risk location for men is the trunk, particularly the back, and the highest risk location for women is the upper leg. So when you’re doing your home inspection, do look everywhere, including between toes and fingers, in the genital area, in the scalp, and behind the ears.


Remember to check inside the mouth when inspecting for skin cancer. Remember that most men don’t inspect their own backs, which is why they need your help! By doing these inspections at least once a month, you can get to know your family members’ moles and be on the lookout for changes.



For additional pointers on Melanoma and a moving story on Melanoma, check out a movie sponsored by my Memphis Dermatology practice on Youtube about Scarlet Akins' story: "Understanding the Melanoma Crisis: Scarlet's Story.". Scarlet was a beautiful 26-year-old woman studying to be a teacher at Ole Miss who found out that she had Metastatic Melanoma when seven months pregnant.

 



My own Memphis Dermatology and Memphis Dermatologic Surgery practice since 1993 has been at Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates (www.Rheumderm.com), 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova TN, 38018, (1-901-753-0168), near Bartlett, Arlington, Germantown, Collierville, and East Memphis. Or you can find a “Dermatologist Near Me” or “Best Dermatologist Near Me”  by going to the American Academy of Dermatology’s website, www.AAD.org, then plugging your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab.

 

Don’t delay: get a Skin Cancer Screening or Melanoma Check today. It could save your life or that of a loved one.  

 
















George Woodbury Jr. MD 

8143 Walnut Grove Road 

Cordova TN 38018  

04/01/2024

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