BY BRIAN HOWE, DIRECTOR OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN DERMATOLOGY
Skin care is a vital part of our health, and being diligent with check-ups can make all the difference in the world. I’d like to share a very personal story, with the intent of bringing awareness about the devastating effects of skin cancer.
I first met Candice at a job interview, as she was seeking a position at our Dermatology practice. Her daughter had been working at our clinic for a couple of years, and she thought her mom, Candice, would be perfect for the job opening. When I met Candice, I agreed, and it wasn’t long before she was running our front desk, and later, our billing department. I was looking forward to her running our entire office – she was just one of those amazing human beings!
At the time she was hired, I was unaware that Candice had previously been diagnosed with a malignant skin cancer called Melanoma. As an employee, Candice benefited from regular skin checks and treatments in our clinic. Unfortunately, during one of our examinations, it became obvious that the Melanoma she had originally been diagnosed with, had spread to other organs in her body. Even with immediate treatment of lesions found in our clinic, the silent damage from the first lesion had remained undiagnosed for far too long. It had continued to metastasize, or spread, within her body. After a trip to Florida, she started to experience a shortness of breath and cold-like symptoms. Tests confirmed that her lungs were filling with fluid, and further testing confirmed a diagnosis of lung cancer. After three months of vigilantly fighting her disease, she passed away; we miss her every day.
I am relating this difficult story in order to highlight the need for early detection. Even as an employee of a dermatology practice who was frequently treated for lesions when the appeared, she could not escape the reality that very first spot wasn’t detected, or treated, before the cancer had a chance to spread. Early detection of skin cancer is everything! It’s as simple as having your skin checked by a qualified professional.
I know this is something many of us would rather put off, but everyone should have their skin checked by a physician. (Be aware that skin checks are covered under most medical insurances; deductibles and copays will apply).
When you initially come into a hospital or clinic for an appointment to check the health of your skin, medical personnel will ask you to put on a gown, so the provider can discretely look over your entire body, paying particular attention to sun-exposed areas. If the physician finds something that is a concern, he or she will recommend a biopsy, which entails removing a portion of the spot, so that further tests can be completed and a determination made as to the make-up of the skin matter which was removed. Many biopsies come back as benign, and no further treatment is required. Some come back as one of many forms of skin cancer. Most are not dangerous, but do require further treatment by removing more skin, which is called an excision. Sometimes, the diagnosis is Melanoma; however, if the cancer is removed in time, there is a 99% chance that the patient will not have further problems. The most important issue is whether or not the cancer was detected before it had a chance to spread. If you have an unusual spot on your body, no matter what your age, get it checked. If you are over the age of 35 and you’ve never had a skin check, it’s time! Rocky Mountain Dermatology has offices in Washington Terrace and Marriott-Slaterville; we invite you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your skin care needs.
HOME OF THE FREE SKIN CHECK PROGRAM
visit http://www.RMDMed.com for details
434 E. 5350 S., Suite D, Ogden
1920 W. 250 N., Suite 17, Millcreek Plaza,