Do you have a mole that looks a little different these days? Changes in moles can be a sign of melanoma, a type of skin cancer that affects more than 175,000 people in the U.S. every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Your Knoxville, TN, dermatologists, Drs. Robert C. Griffith and Robert D. Griffith, help you protect your health with skin cancer screenings and treatments. Read below to learn if you should be concerned about your mole!
What Changes Warrant a Trip to the Skin Doctor?
Schedule an appointment with your Knoxville dermatologist if you notice any of these changes in your mole:
- Unusual Shape or Borders: Is your mole no longer round? A change in shape can be a sign of cancer. A mole's borders should be well-defined, so if any are blurry, rough, or irregular, it's a good idea to make time for a skin cancer exam. Moles that have suddenly become higher are also a cause for concern.
- Changing Colors: Moles normally remain the same color during your entire life. Black, red, or other colors could be a sign of cancerous or atypical cells. See the dermatologist even if your mole eventually changes back to its previous shade.
- Texture: Healthy moles are usually smooth. Bumpy, dry, or flaky moles need to be examined.
- Discomfort: Moles that have become painful or occasionally ooze clear fluids or bleed may also be cancerous. Itching may seem harmless, but if it occurs frequently, it may be a sign of melanoma.
- Skin Changes: The skin around your mole may become swollen or red if you have melanoma.
- New Moles: A new mole doesn't necessarily mean that you have melanoma, but it's unusual to develop new moles after age 20.
It's also important to pay attention to the size of your moles. Moles larger than a pencil eraser are more likely to become cancerous.
How Is Melanoma Diagnosed and Treated?
If your dermatologist thinks that the mole is suspicious, he'll remove it and send it to a laboratory for testing. You may need additional surgery to remove cancerous cells that have invaded your skin if you're diagnosed with melanoma and might also need radiation treatment, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Don't ignore changes in your moles. Call your Knoxville, TN, dermatologists today at (865) 588-1361 to schedule an appointment.
Do you ignore changes in your skin texture and pigmentation? You shouldn't—skin cancer often masquerades as something you believe to be simple aging. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that more skin malignancies are diagnosed in the US than all other kinds of cancers put together. In response to this pervasiveness, your Knoxville dermatologist, Dr. Robert Griffith, wants you to know the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this potential killer and what you can do to protect yourself.
The origins of skin cancer
The three best-known skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma) find their origins in sun exposure and indoor tanning. Additionally, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the risk for skin malignancies is cumulative, meaning that the longer you live, the more UV rays you absorb on exposed areas of the body such as the face, neck, arms, back, and shoulders—this increases your likelihood of developing the condition. So, while age is not a true risk factor, the passage of time certainly is.
Symptoms of skin cancer
Your Knoxville dermatologist recommends that patients receive annual skin examinations starting at age 40. Dr. Griffith's highly trained eye can pick up on signs of skin problems, including cancers, more quickly than any layperson can.
That being said, adults should carefully look at their own skin at least once a month, looking for these signs:
- Waxy lumps or bumps
- Scaly patches which itch, ooze or bleed
- Persistent crusty areas
- Moles which change
In fact, Dr. Griffith advises that you check moles, freckles, and other areas of hyper-pigmentation according to this easy mnemonic, the ABCDEs of moles:
- A is for asymmetry. If a mole becomes larger on one side, get it checked.
- B stands for borders. They should remain smooth, not scalloped or notched.
- C stands for color. A brown or tan color should be uniform throughout the spot. If color changes over time or is varied, this may indicate malignant melanoma
- D means diameter. Benign spots are no larger than a pencil top eraser, or 6 millimeters.
- E stands for evolving. Noncancerous moles do not change, while cancerous ones morph in shape, size, texture, and color.
Treatments for skin cancers
Skin cancers are more treatable when detected in their earliest stages, so, prevention is the best treatment:
- Cover up in the midday sun
- Use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, and reapply every two hours or after getting out of the pool or sweating
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses
- Avoid the sun, if possible, during the hours of 10 am and 2 pm when the sun's rays are most direct
While most non-invasive skin cancers respond well to surgery, cautery, freezing, radiation, and chemotherapy, melanoma is stubborn, silent, and always requires prompt and aggressive treatment. Your skin doctor will formulate a treatment plan based on your specific cancer and overall health.
The old adage, "Forewarned is forearmed," is so true where skin cancer is concerned. To learn more and to arrange a routine skin check with dermatologist Dr. Robert Griffith, contact our Knoxville office at (865) 588-1361.
Itchy, unsightly rashes can cause adults and children considerable discomfort and embarrassment. If you're experiencing a disruption in the skin surface any where on your body, please contact your dermatologist in Knoxville, TN Dr. Robert Griffith. He'll give you the straight facts on your skin rash and help you treat it and prevent recurrences.
What is a rash?
Common sense tells you when you have a skin rash. You just know that your skin does not look or feel normal. Lesions of various colors, shapes and textures appear, and often itching, redness and inflammation accompany them.
While causes of rashes vary, most are not cancerous. Rather these dermatological disruptions usually are self-limiting and highly treatable by your dermatologist in Knoxville. When a rash causes great discomfort or lasts more than a week or so, you should see Dr. Griffith for a visual examination and review of your symptoms and medical history.
Common skin rashes
Dr. Griffith encounters a wide variety of skin rashes in his dermatology practice in Knoxville. Some of the most frequent are:
- Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, scaly, orange patches of irritated skin which can itch intensely, blister and ooze. This rash erupts and escalates when the individual contacts an allergen or something he or she seems sensitive to--things such as detergents, cosmetics, fragrances, chlorine, latex, certain fabrics and more. Steroidal creams and antihistamines relieve the symptoms, and the doctor advises avoiding known triggers.
- Ringworm is a raised, round lesion with a defined red border. It is caused by the same fungus which generates jock itch and athlete's foot and responds well to anti-fungal medications.
- Cutaneous lupus expresses as a large, red, butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks. Autoimmune in nature, cutaneous lupus cannot be cured but can be managed with the help of your dermatologist.
- Pityriasis rosea is caused by a virus. Sufferers exhibit raised, flat lesions which are not contagious. The American Academy of Dermatology says this rash is self-limiting, and while it needs identification, it should resolve by itself.
Do you have a rash?
Be sure you take care of your skin consistently with daily washing and thorough drying. Moisturize every day, and use an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen in the warm weather.
If you develop a rash, please contact Dr. Robert Griffith and his team right away for an appointment. Call us at (865) 588-1361.
Could this condition be the reason you’re experiencing patches of scaly skin?
Did you know that psoriasis is the most common immune disorder in the US? According to the World Psoriasis Day Consortium, it’s estimated that 125 million people across the globe have psoriasis. Could this be you? If you are dealing with thick, scaly patches of skin it could be. Our Knoxville, TN, dermatologist Dr. Robert Griffith has the answers.
What is psoriasis?
This immune disorder often manifests on the skin, leading to thick scaly patches of skin that may crack or bleed. Normally, skin cell turnover occurs every 28 to 30 days, causing healthy new cells to move to the surface of the skin within a few days; however, in psoriasis, skin cell turnover occurs too rapidly causing old cells to build up and lead to scaly skin.
What causes psoriasis?
Unfortunately, medical experts don’t quite know what causes psoriasis; however, there are certain factors that can contribute to or trigger these symptoms such as:
- Traumatic injury to the skin
- Emotional stress
- Certain infections
- Cold weather
- Certain medications
Be sure to talk to our Knoxville, TN, skin doctor about your triggers so we can help you create a treatment plan that will reduce your exposure to these elements and reduce your flare-ups.
What treatment options are out there to manage my psoriasis symptoms?
While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, there are many treatment options to help manage your psoriasis symptoms for the long term. The treatments recommended by your dermatologist in Knoxville, TN, will depend on the severity of your symptoms, as well as your overall health and age. The top three psoriasis treatments include topical treatments, light therapy (E.G. UVB phototherapy) and systemic medication (medication that you take orally). Those with severe symptoms may benefit from oral or injectable medications.
Of course, there are certain lifestyle modifications and at-home treatment options you can try. Certain lifestyle modifications include:
- Reducing stress
- Preventing injuries to the skin
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Avoiding triggers whenever possible
No matter whether you suspect that you might be dealing with psoriasis or you need to speak with our dermatologist in Knoxville, TN, about different psoriasis treatment options to meet your needs, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Find out the most effective treatments for removing warts.
You’ve probably heard that old wives’ tale about how playing with toads could give you warts; however, while this is an amusing thought, we can’t blame toads for spreading warts. The only way you can develop these skin growths is through a virus (known as the human papillomavirus). Of course, sometimes these warts are in awkward areas, they cause embarrassment or are just plain uncomfortable. When this happens, our Knoxville, TN, dermatologist Dr. Robert Griffith can help.
First and foremost, if you are an otherwise healthy individual you may just find it easier to treat your warts at home or to just wait for it to go away on its own (just remember that it can take years for a wart to go away). You can find everything from acid patches to freezing treatment at your local drugstore. If you aren’t sure how to use these products you can also ask the pharmacist for advice.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes it’s important that you don’t try to treat this problem yourself, as some of these treatments (particularly if done incorrectly) could actually increase your chances for an infection. This is when you’ll want to consult with a dermatologist if you want to have the wart removed.
As you might imagine, the most effective wart removal option is found right here in our dermatologist’s office. There are a few different ways in which we can remove the wart, and the treatment option that will work best for you will depend on certain factors such as the location of the wart.
Turning to a dermatologist is a good idea if you want a fast, effective wart removal treatment or if the wart is painful or in an awkward location. Here in our office, we do everything from acid peels to liquid nitrogen (freezing the wart) to laser treatment and even minor surgery to handle your wart problems.
Are you interested in getting a wart removed in Knoxville, TN? Are at-home treatments just not cutting it? Then it’s time to call our expert dermatology team today to learn more about what we can do for you.
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