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Since starting with Summit Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, Margene Tranter, PA-C has diagnosed on average one melanoma a week. If you are alarmed by this, you should be.

The weather is getting warmer and summer fun is not far away! As a Navy spouse for the last 18 years, I have had the good fortune of living and practicing dermatology near some of the most beautiful and sunny coastal cities in the country. One of my top goals is to educate patients on adequately protecting their skin from sun damage and the associated risk of developing skin cancer.

The sun’s rays can negatively affect our skin in two different ways-UVA rays will age skin prematurely and UVB rays are responsible for those painful sunburns. Both types of damage can lead to skin cancer (which is actually the most common form of cancer in the United States). Basal and Squamous cell carcinomas are more common and very treatable with proper diagnosis and treatment. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and its rate of diagnosis has been steadily increasing over the last 30 years. It can spread quickly to other parts of the body and, if left untreated, can have life threatening consequences.

The American Cancer society estimates approximately 87,000 new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2017 and, to bring awareness to the public, May has been designated as National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection Month. The average age of a person diagnosed with melanoma is 63, however, it is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in young adults, particularly in coastal areas where they spend a lot of time outside enjoying the sun.

I have seen an increased frequency of melanoma here compared to my previous practice locations. so it’s important to me that I educate patients about what skin changes to look for. To do so, I often review the “A, B, C, D, E characteristics of moles”.

  • “A” refers to asymmetry-does each half of the mole look like the other?
  • “B” refers to border-does it look like someone colored inside the lines (no blurry or streaked border)?
  • “C” is color-is the color consistent throughout the mole or are there variations?
  • “D” refers to diameter-is the mole smaller than a pencil eraser? The exception to these characteristics are moles that we are born with or that show up shortly after birth.
  • “E” refers to evolving-does the mole itch, is it changing, bleeding, or rapidly increasing in size? If you have moles on your skin that demonstrate any of these changes, you should make an appointment with your medical skin care provider to have the mole evaluated.

You are at increased risk for melanoma if you have a first degree relative such as a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with melanoma, have had prolonged and/or frequent sun exposure especially at an early age and have any history of using a tanning bed (as prom season approaches, the safest and cheapest option is a spray tan).

The most important thing to remember with regards to melanoma is that when identified early, it is easily treatable. The longer you wait to have the issue addressed with your provider, the more invasive the treatment could be. So, as we head into the warmer months remember to use your sunscreen and to reapply every 80 minutes (more frequently if you are swimming or sweating). A good rule of thumb is to use SPF 30 or greater and to use an adequate amount (such as to fill a shot glass) to cover the entire body. Also, check your sunscreen and make sure it has not expired. It’s best not to leave it in a hot car because that will allow the ingredients to separate and become ineffective.

Babies under 6 months of age should generally be kept out of the sun. Anyone responsible for sun protection for children should set a timer when they get to the pool or beach so they know when it is time to reapply. In addition to sunscreen, invest in sun protective clothing, rash guards, hats and sun umbrellas that contain a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF (a plain white t-shirt only has a UPF of 5 and provides minimal protection against the harmful sun rays). Also, try to avoid peak sun exposure from 10 am- 2pm.

Finally, make sure you see your dermatology provider once a year for a screening and more frequently if you have been previously diagnosed with a skin cancer. We recommend every 6 months. At Summit Plastic Surgery and Dermatology, we take your skin care seriously and want to make sure we play an active role in your overall health. See you around the Hampstead and Supply offices!

– Margene

Since starting with Summit Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, Margene Tranter, PA-C has diagnosed on average one melanoma a week. If you are alarmed by this, you should be.

The weather is getting warmer and summer fun is not far away! As a Navy spouse for the last 18 years, I have had the good fortune of living and practicing dermatology near some of the most beautiful and sunny coastal cities in the country. One of my top goals is to educate patients on adequately protecting their skin from sun damage and the associated risk of developing skin cancer.

The sun’s rays can negatively affect our skin in two different ways-UVA rays will age skin prematurely and UVB rays are responsible for those painful sunburns. Both types of damage can lead to skin cancer (which is actually the most common form of cancer in the United States). Basal and Squamous cell carcinomas are more common and very treatable with proper diagnosis and treatment. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and its rate of diagnosis has been steadily increasing over the last 30 years. It can spread quickly to other parts of the body and, if left untreated, can have life threatening consequences.

The American Cancer society estimates approximately 87,000 new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2017 and, to bring awareness to the public, May has been designated as National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection Month. The average age of a person diagnosed with melanoma is 63, however, it is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in young adults, particularly in coastal areas where they spend a lot of time outside enjoying the sun.

I have seen an increased frequency of melanoma here compared to my previous practice locations. so it’s important to me that I educate patients about what skin changes to look for. To do so, I often review the “A, B, C, D, E characteristics of moles”.

  • “A” refers to asymmetry-does each half of the mole look like the other?
  • “B” refers to border-does it look like someone colored inside the lines (no blurry or streaked border)?
  • “C” is color-is the color consistent throughout the mole or are there variations?
  • “D” refers to diameter-is the mole smaller than a pencil eraser? The exception to these characteristics are moles that we are born with or that show up shortly after birth.
  • “E” refers to evolving-does the mole itch, is it changing, bleeding, or rapidly increasing in size? If you have moles on your skin that demonstrate any of these changes, you should make an appointment with your medical skin care provider to have the mole evaluated.

You are at increased risk for melanoma if you have a first degree relative such as a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with melanoma, have had prolonged and/or frequent sun exposure especially at an early age and have any history of using a tanning bed (as prom season approaches, the safest and cheapest option is a spray tan).

The most important thing to remember with regards to melanoma is that when identified early, it is easily treatable. The longer you wait to have the issue addressed with your provider, the more invasive the treatment could be. So, as we head into the warmer months remember to use your sunscreen and to reapply every 80 minutes (more frequently if you are swimming or sweating). A good rule of thumb is to use SPF 30 or greater and to use an adequate amount (such as to fill a shot glass) to cover the entire body. Also, check your sunscreen and make sure it has not expired. It’s best not to leave it in a hot car because that will allow the ingredients to separate and become ineffective.

Babies under 6 months of age should generally be kept out of the sun. Anyone responsible for sun protection for children should set a timer when they get to the pool or beach so they know when it is time to reapply. In addition to sunscreen, invest in sun protective clothing, rash guards, hats and sun umbrellas that contain a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF (a plain white t-shirt only has a UPF of 5 and provides minimal protection against the harmful sun rays). Also, try to avoid peak sun exposure from 10 am- 2pm.

Finally, make sure you see your dermatology provider once a year for a screening and more frequently if you have been previously diagnosed with a skin cancer. We recommend every 6 months. At Summit Plastic Surgery and Dermatology, we take your skin care seriously and want to make sure we play an active role in your overall health. See you around the Hampstead and Supply offices!

– Margene

Want us to take a look? Schedule your skin checkup now!

Make sure you don’t have any spots, moles, or rough patches of skin that need attention before spring and summer gets here!

Give Me the Onceover, Doc!
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