What Is Dermatology And What Do You Enjoy Treating?
Dermatology is a medical specialty that deals with the hair, skin, and nails. Although I treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis, I am most passionate about performing skin checks for my patients and finding abnormal moles and skin lesions. Most patients come into our office for a specific spot check or full body skin check. We will evaluate the skin and discuss any lesions, what is normal vs. abnormal, and what needs treatment vs. sites that require monitoring, etc. I always want the patient to be educated during their skin exams, so they know what to look for over time.
What Are Some Warning Signs Of Skin Cancer?
Anything that is growing or changing — whether in shape, size, or color — or if a spot is sore or bleeding, can be indicators. I recommend patients perform skin self-exams so they are aware of what is normal and to be aware of any changes. Melanoma can appear as a brand-new spot or as a change in a mole that you’ve had forever, so having a baseline exam with a dermatologist to establish care and regular annual exams is recommended. Most dermatologists follow the ABCDEs protocol: Asymmetry, Border irregularities, Color changes, Diameter of greater than 6mm, and Evolution (or changes). If you have a spot that meets these criteria, have the lesion evaluated by a trained professional.
Can We Decrease Our Risk For Developing Skin Cancer?
Yes, by wearing and reapplying sunscreen with an SPF of 30+, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding as much direct sun exposure as possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors; you just must protect your skin. Your risk for skin cancer increases over time and is related to how many sunburns you experience before the age of 20. We must continually educate children and young adults about sunscreen use.
Can You Treat Skin Cancer In Your Rockwall Location, Or Do You Have To Refer Out?
We can treat most skin cancers in-house. Dr. Barrows is an expert in performing Mohs micrographic surgery, a specialized procedure to remove cancerous tissue. We also have a plastic surgeon who does closures, so patients receive treatment from start to finish without going elsewhere.
How Often Should I See A Dermatologist?
Once a year for a skin check is recommended, but if you have many moles or a personal history of skin cancer, more frequently, possibly at six months or more often if you’ve had a recent skin cancer. However, if a spot concerns you, then come in as soon as possible for an evaluation. There are places on your body that you can’t see, like your back and your scalp, so having a trained eye examine you at least once a year to check for changes is a great step on the path to preventing skin cancer or catching it early, so that your treatment plan is simpler and less invasive.
About The Expert
Marissa Bothun, Physician Assistant
Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center
Marissa Bothun is a Physician Assistant for Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center in Rockwall and works closely with Dr. Barrows, the medical director and Mohs Surgeon. With her in-depth knowledge of dermatology and surgical procedures, she can diagnose, treat, and manage various skin conditions; prescribe medication as needed; and perform procedures and surgeries.