The most important thing a dermatologist does is stare at your naked flesh. Not to ogle you, but to carefully inspect the skin to make sure you don’t have one of the most vicious cancers there is — malignant melanoma. (Primary care doctors can also play a valuable role in skin inspection for prevention of skin cancer.)
Melanoma is a deadly skin cancer once it gets into the blood and lymph system, but when it’s still confined to the skin, it is 100 percent curable. It starts in the melanin cells, which produce the skin’s pigmentation or color. That’s why abnormal coloring of a mole is one of the main tipoffs of a melanoma.
The failure of doctors to detect and remove an early melanoma can be medical malpractice.
Patient Safety Tip for Skin Cancer
Anyone who is fair-skinned, sunburns easily, or has a lot of moles on their skin should see a dermatologist or a good primary care doctor for skin checks once a year. These can be part of a routine physical exam. The doctor should measure and do sketches of the moles’ location and appearance on your skin, or should take good photographs. A change in a mole is one of the key indicators of potential for malignant melanoma, a skin cancer which is deadly once it gets into the bloodstream but is 100% curable when still confined to the skin. Read More…
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