Rodeo Drive Launches Skin Cancer Screening Program

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. The days are longer and we are all spending more time outside. This time of year it becomes clear that most of us do not protect ourselves from the sun the way we should. Not only does the sun age us, but it also puts us at risk for skin cancer.

At Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery, we use this time of year to remind our patients of the importance of sun protection. Wear a hat. Wear sunsreen every day with an SPF of at least 15. It's fine to spend some time in the sun, but you should never forget to protect yourself. This applies to a day at the beach or to a routine day driving to work. The sun here in Southern California is quite strong, so sun protection is important every day.

We also screen all of our Los Angeles plastic surgery patients for skin lesions. If there is anything on the skin that looks worrisome, we recommend a biopsy to remove it and send the sample off to a pathologist. This way, a firm diagnosis can be made and we know exactly what we're dealing with. These are short outpatient procedures, with no down time and minimal or no discomfort. In many cases, it is well-worth the effort to have this sort of minor procedure performed. So even if our patients are coming in for an unrelated procedure, such as Beverly Hills liposuction, we still screen for skin cancer as we examine them. We have found skin cancers on patients who never really thought about the issue before.

There are several types of skin cancer to be aware of. The most common and usually least aggressive is called Basal Cell Carcinoma. It is usually treated completely during our biopsy procedure. More aggressive skin cancers include Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Malignant Melanoma. These types of skin cancers can be very aggressive and life threatening. Skin cancers are more frequent on areas exposed to the sun such as the face and arms, but they can also develop on other parts of the body including the legs and back.

We have put a new section up on our web site which describes the types of skin cancer in detail, as well as diagnosis and treatment options. It also includes pictures of various skin lesions. But the only way to deal with a worrisome skin lesion is to be examined by a doctor, and often to have a biopsy to remove it. So if you have anything on your skin that looks like it might be new, or changing, or is worrisome in any way, it is important to have it examined right away.

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