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Skin cancer, the gift that keeps on giving

…well at least it’s not genital warts (see previous post). Once you get a skin cancer, unfortunately, you often will get more. The younger you are when you get one, the more likely you will have more in your lifetime. Almost everyone we treat with Mohs surgery has had a previous skin cancer elsewhere. It is important to prevent skin cancer in the first place by avoiding prolonged sun exposure and practicing common sense sun protection. Does that mean you have to be a recluse? No, but purposefully sunbathing is not very smart.

An experienced dermatologist can often recognize a skin cancer in its earliest stages, though every dermatologist has missed something at some point in their careers. (And if they claim they have not, they are big fat liars!). Therefore, we rely on patients to do their own self exam and observe any suspicious lesions for changes in color, shape, size and border, and to come in for periodic exams. Don’t let anyone freeze any lesions more than once without discussing the possibility of a biopsy for any persistent or recurrent lesion. The person that set the record in my office for the longest time spent in Mohs surgery in one day was a celebrity in his 40’s who had had a lesion frozen twice with two different dermatologists. He pulled through wonderfully and took it very well considering, but we were both dumbfounded at the extent that this tumor had grown.

I love what I do and I get the most satisfaction from educating my patients on their skin lesions and skin cancer, but I would rather not be cutting off parts of your nose, eyelids, lips, etc for your sake. Preventative care is really important.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, February 4th, 2012 at 2:58 am and is filed under Skin Cancer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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