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16/Jun/2019

It’s May! During this month we celebrate holidays such as Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day to name a few. It marks the end of the school year and is the official start of the summer season. . .

…but did you know that it is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month?

I can’t think of a better month to raise awareness about this preventable form of cancer than the month of May, especially since this is when many of us begin to spend more time outdoors.

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with over five million new cases diagnosed each year. A vast majority of these cases can be linked directly from exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun.

My goal for this article is to help familiarize you with the common forms of skin cancer that are seen in our office and provide you tips on how to prevent them, as well as recognize early warning signs as a flag to take action and have them evaluated. . .

...sooner rather than later!

And to help us out with this endeavor is our own Laura Collins, APRN.

About Laura Collins, APRN, DCNP

Laura received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Northern Illinois University (NIU) in 2000. She completed the Nurse Practitioner Program and earned her Master’s Degree from NIU in December of 2004. She is board certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner and is also a Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner by the Dermatology Nurses Association.

Ms. Collins is a member of the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nurses, the Dermatology Nurses Association Nurse Practitioner Society, and the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants.

She has practiced in the field of dermatology for over twelve years. Her medical interests include general dermatology, skin cancer screening and prevention, patient education, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Ms. Collins believes in providing comprehensive patient care and strives to give friendly and courteous service.

She enjoys helping patients understand their condition and educating them on the best possible treatment options.

Learn more about Laura here!

What causes skin cancer?

While there are a number of factors contributing to skin cancer, sun exposure is among the most common.

The sun emits two main forms of UV rays, UVA and UVB. Both of these types of rays are capable of penetrating the skin to cause permanent damage to the cells below.

UVA penetrates more deeply than UVB and can cause genetic damage as well as photo aging (a.k.a. wrinkles, discoloration, etc.) and immune-suppression.

UVB rays penetrate into the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, and are more responsible for sunburn, which places an individual at a greater risk for skin cancer, especially melanoma. UV rays can also contribute to eye damage.

Another important point to note is that we can also sustain exposure to UV rays from sources other than the sun, such as in tanning beds.

Over time, if the body cannot repair the damage sustained to the cells, they can begin to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way which may have the potential to eventually form a tumor. These tumors can be cancerous—and therefore, deadly.

The Most Common Forms of Skin Cancer

As I mentioned before, skin cancer can be preventable. Oftentimes, we can see pre-cancerous lesions on the skin in individuals who have had lots of UV exposure over time.

These lesions are called Actinic Keratoses (AKs) and are predominantly found on fair skinned individuals in sun-exposed areas such as the head, face, neck, and backs of the hands or forearms.

AKs concern us because they have the potential to evolve into a form of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma (more on that one later).

What you are looking for here initially is a poorly defined area of redness with or without small visible blood vessels. Over time, these spots may evolve and develop a thin transparent, white, or yellow scale.

They can usually be felt by your fingertips and are often mistaken for dry skin. The hallmark is that they do not go away, even with moisturizers. If these lesions are not treated, eventually they may progress to forming a thicker scale and can become raised, and sometimes sore or painful.

It is estimated that 10% of untreated actinic keratoses progress to squamous cell carcinoma.

We recommend that if you notice any red, dry, scaly spots that are persistent or worsening over time to come in for an evaluation. We have many ways to treat these lesions and prevent them from transitioning into skin cancer.

The most common form of skin cancer is called Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). This cancer derives from the basal layer of keratinocytes, the predominant cell type of the epidermis (the top layer of the skin).

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Like AKs, basal cell carcinomais also more likely to be found in people with fair skin in sun-exposed areas. It is most common after age 40, however, it may appear at any age. The most common risk factor is cumulative sun exposure over time.

BCC has many variants, some more aggressive than others.

What does basal cell carcinoma look like?

Look for any flat or raised pink or translucent spots. These tumors grow slowly and enlarge over time, sometimes developing tiny superficial blood vessels or rolled raised borders.

BCCs may also bleed with minor trauma such as shaving or rubbing with a towel, but the warning sign is that it is a lesion that does not heal or go away.

Although these tumors rarely metastasize, they will enlarge and locally invade the surrounding skin if left untreated.

This can be very concerning if they are located on an eyelid, lip, nose or the ears. A biopsy is usually performed to confirm the diagnosis to determine the type of BCC that is present. We have many treatment options for BCC, however, the type, size, and location are taken into consideration when recommending treatment.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer that we see. SCC is more invasive than BCC. It also arises from the keratinocytes of the skin and is most common in the sun-exposed areas of the body in elderly patients after years of cumulative UV exposure.

Caucasian people with fair skin are at the greatest risk.

Unlike BCC, which is primarily due to sun exposure, SCC can also be caused by other factors such as tobacco, chronic infections and inflammation, burns, and the human papillomavirus infection.

People who are immunocompromised are at an even greater risk. Our main concern with SCC is that if left untreated, it does have the potential to metastasize through the lymphatic system to the local lymph nodes and beyond.

What does squamous cell carcinoma look like?

These lesions are usually pink to a dull red color with firm, poorly defined raised bump with yellowish scale. As the lesions progress, they may become more raised with a crusted center. Skin biopsies are recommended for all suspected squamous cell carcinomas and as with BCC, the treatment needed may vary depending upon the type, size, and location of the tumor.

Malignant Melanoma

Our third most common skin cancer is Malignant Melanoma (MM). MM is a cancer of the melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells of the skin.

Of the three skin cancers described in this article, MM is the most serious.

It is potentially curable with early detection and treatment, however, if it is left untreated, may carry a poor prognosis.

The risk factors include having fair skin, the presence of atypical moles in both sun-exposed areas as well as sun-protected skin, a personal and/or family history of MM, a history of blistering sunburns, and a history of pigmented birthmarks (congenital nevi).

Earlier detection and treatment are the key to a more favorable prognosis as the cancer can grow rapidly and spread through the lymphatic system to other areas of the body. Normal moles do not have any symptoms, however, if a mole is sore, itchy, bleeds, or demonstrates any other symptoms, have it evaluated by a dermatology provider.

Other Criteria to look for would be to evaluate your moles for the ABCDEs of skin cancer:

A = Asymmetry. Check your moles to see if it is symmetrical; meaning that one half matches the other. If not, the mole is asymmetrical and should be evaluated.

B = Border Irregularity. Normal moles should have smooth, even border. A mole should be evaluated if the borders appear to be scalloped, jagged, or seem to fade out.

C = Color Variegation. Moles should demonstrate an even color scheme. If you see new colors, colors that are changing, or there are multiple colors it is time for a check.

D = Diameter > 6mm. If your mole is larger than the size of a pencil eraser, and/or growing, an evaluation is recommended.

E = Evolution. Monitor your moles with each monthly Self Skin Examination. If your moles appear to change or grow (evolve) over time, it is best to have them evaluated.

What does malignant melanoma look like?

MM can be tricky to diagnose. While they primarily arise from existing moles, this is not always the case. MMs are not always brown or black in color. A form of melanoma called Amelanotic Melanoma can simply appear as a colorless, pink or red spot.

They can be easy to miss, delaying their diagnosis which can potentially affect overall prognosis. For this reason, we highly recommend that you perform a monthly Self Skin Exam on yourself and have an annual evaluation with a dermatology provider, especially if you are over 40 years old.

Make sure to report any lesion that is new and changing or does not heal. The Skin Cancer Foundation has step by step instructions on how to perform this examination on yourself. For more information please visit SkinCancer.org.

Skin Cancer Prevention

The number one way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin. We recommend that during any season you apply a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen containing Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium dioxide of at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15-30 at least every two hours to any exposed areas when outside.

Be sure to use about one ounce of the product (about the amount in a shot glass) to ensure adequate coverage. It is also a good idea to use a facial moisturizer containing sunscreen to your face, ears, and neck daily before you leave the house.

In addition to sunscreen, sun protective clothing and hats can augment your prevention when outside. Look for garments containing an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30 or above.  Protect your eyes with UV blocking sunglasses. If you have a long commute or are in your car much of the day, consider having UV blocking films applied to your side car windows for added protection.

We recommend that year-round seek the shade when outside between the hours of 10AM and 4 PM. It is also advisable to avoid getting sunburned and never use UV tanning beds. Keep newborn children out of the sun and begin using sunscreens on babies after six months of age.

With these tips, you are well on your way to maintaining healthy skin. When it comes to skin cancer, earlier detection is the key to well-being. This May and beyond, stay safe by performing monthly self-skin exams and see your dermatology provider with any concerns and at least once a year for a full skin exam.

For more information, please visit SkinCancer.org.


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16/Jun/2019


Protecting yourself in the sun is of the utmost importance. With 1 in 5 people developing skin cancer in their lifetimes, prevention should be at the forefront of your mind whenever you head outdoors.

Summertime is for getting outside and having fun with family and friends, but it’s also about being aware of what you’re doing to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. They may feel warm and soothing to your skin, but those rays are doing more harm than good.

That’s why using sunscreen and sun protective clothing is crucial for avoiding skin cancer and other ailments the sun can cause.

Our very own Laura Collins, APRN, DCNP, weighs in on some very impactful information about sun protective clothing and how it can help you.



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What is sun protective clothing?

While many different types of clothing can protect you from the sun’s rays, there are fabrics specifically made to protect your skin more so than normal materials.

“Garments manufactured with certain types of fabrics, dyes, weave structures, and thread counts with the intention of shielding a person’s skin from the damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation are known as ‘sun protective clothing.’

Over the past decade, sun protective clothing has become an important addition to our defense against UV radiation. These special garments are available for infants through adults in a variety of products. Examples include hats, scarves, rash guards, cover ups, jackets, as well as bathing suits, and more recently resort wear such as dresses, pants, and shirts.”



Why is it important to wear UV protective clothing?

You may be thinking that you don’t really need sun protective clothing if you have sunscreen but that’s just not the case. More often than not, individuals apply sunscreen once in the morning and then either forget to reapply or simply don’t know they need to.

Laura expands upon this important point:

“Sunscreens remain the first line recommended daily defense from the sun, however people who live in or vacation in sunny locations or are involved in many outdoor activities and sports during the summer may benefit from more complete coverage.

It is recommended to re-apply sunscreens at least every two hours because they wear off and sweat off during our activities, leaving our skin with inadequate protection if sunscreens are not re-applied. This is where sun protective clothing can help bridge the gap of protection.

While it is not generally recommended to use sun protective clothing as a substitute for sunscreen, it can provide additional coverage for outdoor activities because the protection remains effective throughout the day or during sports such as golfing or swimming, etc.”


What is the best UV protective clothing?

Just like there are more beneficial brands and types of sunscreens, there are UV protective clothing that protects better and is more effective than others.

“The best sun protective garments are the ones that a person will wear regularly and suit their specific needs. A quality garment will be labeled with the amount of Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) that rates how well it can shield from the UV rays:”

  • UPF of 15-24 is considered “good” with 93-96% UV radiation blocked.
  • UPF of 25-39 is considered “very good” with 96-97% of UV radiation blocked.
  • UPF of 40-50+ is considered “excellent” with 97-98% of UV radiation blocked.”

Where can you buy sun protective clothing?

UV Protective clothing might just be right in front of your face when you’re shopping at your local department stores. Start looking a little closer and you’ll find some that’s perfect for you.

Sun protective clothing can usually be purchased seasonally at most local department stores and year-round with online retailers such as:

Avoiding skin cancer should always be your top priority when you know you’ll be out in the sun all day. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself more and have peace of mind if you take the leap and buy yourself some effective sun protective clothing.


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16/Jun/2019


April is known as Rosacea Awareness Month! You’ve probably heard of this before, but do you really know what rosacea is and just how it can impact lives? This month our very own Laura Collins is tackling this skin condition and spreading awareness for those who suffer through it every day.

There’s a very high chance you know at least one person in your life who suffers from rosacea. It’s a very common skin condition that affects nearly 14 million Americans in a negative and uncomfortable way.



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What are the common symptoms of rosacea?

Although rosacea is so common, it’s not always well known. It’s actually a chronic skin condition that causes acne-like pimples, redness in the face, swelling, and visible small blood vessels on the face. The inflammation can also affect other areas of the face like your cheeks, nose, forehead, and even your chin.

Rosacea typically emerges in individuals after the age of 30 and often goes through cycles of flare-ups and remission. It can worsen over time if left untreated and it’s recommended to seek help as soon as you can to control this condition.


What causes Rosacea?

While experts aren’t positive about what causes this, there are many factors that may lead to an individual suffering from rosacea. Those with lighter skin tend to be at a higher risk along with those with facial blood vessel abnormalities, a family history of rosacea, and those with a higher number of Demodex folliculorum, a facial mite that resides on the skin.


What’s the best makeup for rosacea?

Those struggling with rosacea have an even harder time using everyday facial care products than the average person. Because their skin is more sensitive, they need to make sure they’re using gentle products on their face.

“The makeup that I highly recommend for rosacea patients is IT Cosmetics. Most of their makeup and products are gentle to the skin, contain sunscreen and also can camouflage some of the redness that rosacea sufferers may experience. You can find IT Cosmetics at Ulta or with online retailers.”


What are the common symptoms of rosacea?

Although rosacea is so common, it’s not always well known. It’s actually a chronic skin condition that causes acne-like pimples, redness in the face, swelling, and visible small blood vessels on the face. The inflammation can also affect other areas of the face like your cheeks, nose, forehead, and even your chin.

Rosacea typically emerges in individuals after the age of 30 and often goes through cycles of flare-ups and remission. It can worsen over time if left untreated and it’s recommended to seek help as soon as you can to control this condition.


What causes Rosacea?

While experts aren’t positive about what causes this, there are many factors that may lead to an individual suffering from rosacea. Those with lighter skin tend to be at a higher risk along with those with facial blood vessel abnormalities, a family history of rosacea, and those with a higher number of Demodex folliculorum, a facial mite that resides on the skin.


What’s the best makeup for rosacea?

Those struggling with rosacea have an even harder time using everyday facial care products than the average person. Because their skin is more sensitive, they need to make sure they’re using gentle products on their face.

“The makeup that I highly recommend for rosacea patients is IT Cosmetics. Most of their makeup and products are gentle to the skin, contain sunscreen and also can camouflage some of the redness that rosacea sufferers may experience. You can find IT Cosmetics at Ulta or with online retailers.”


Are some moisturizers better than others?

Yes. One of the best thigs someone with rosacea can do is use a reliable, gentle moisturizer to soothe redness and inflammation.

“My favorite daytime moisturizers are the Skin Medica Total Defense and Repair as well as Neutrogena Healthy defense and Aveeno Positively Radiant. My favorite night-time moisturizer is Skin Medica HA5. I also like Cerave PM lotion for night time use.”


What are some triggers for rosacea breakouts?

Unfortunately, there are many things that can trigger rosacea in those who have it. Sun exposure, excessive amounts of stress, wind, heavy exercise, hot baths, humidity, indoor heat, and certain skincare products are among a few.

Laura Collins also adds, “There are many foods that can trigger symptoms, however most notable are hot beverages, wine and other alcohol, as well as spicy foods and foods that contain caffeine.”


What’s the difference between rosacea and acne?

Many people assume that those with rosacea are actually suffering with acne when in reality, they’re very different ailments. Even using products designed for acne can make rosacea worse.

For that reason, it’s important to understand just how these two skin conditions differ.

Rosacea, like acne, is inflammation of the skin but they’re caused by very different things. Acne is a result of excess oil and skin cells built up in a pore. When bacteria is introduced to the clogged pore, it can cause an infection, which leads to inflammation, redness, pimples and acne in general.

Rosacea, on the other hand, is skin inflammation that results in overall redness that’s not specific to a single lesion. While rosacea can result in acne-like pustules, they are usually far smaller than acne pimples and are not the result of clogged pores or blackheads.


What’s the best treatment option for rosacea?

As with almost anything else, prevention is really the best treatment option, especially since there is no exact cure for rosacea. While you can’t exactly prevent rosacea as a whole, you can limit your symptoms and even treat them in a number of different ways.

Laura suggests that keeping a food diary can make a difference.

“Sometimes keeping a food diary is helpful when newly diagnosed to help someone recognize the specific triggers in his or her diet.”

As for other treatment options, Laura weighs in:

“Rosacea treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition. I recommend everyone wear a sunscreen SPF 30+ daily with re-application every two hours when outside. If the rosacea is mild, treatment can simply be a topical prescription medication.  If it is more severe and the patient has pimple like lesions, sometimes a topical medication in combination with an oral medication may work best. We also have lasers and other devices that we can use to address the redness and superficial blood vessels that are present with the condition.”

Rosacea is an uncomfortable and chronic condition that affects so many lives every day. We hope that through these answers, you’re more enlightened as to what this skin condition is and just how widespread it can be.



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16/Jun/2019


Skin 101: Everything you wanted to know about your SKIN, but were afraid to ask!

Thursday, April 26, 2018
5:00pm – 6:30pm
5201 Willow Springs Rd., #430
La Grange Highlands, IL 60525


EVENT FILLED

If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please enter your information below.


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16/Jun/2019


Join us for an exclusive Coolsculpting event at Orangetheory Fitness!

Orangetheory Fitness – 862 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Thursday, April 5, 2018
5:00pm – 6:30pm


RSVP to the event

Enter your information below to RSVP to our April 5th Coolsculpting event at Orangetheory Fitness!


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16/Jun/2019

If your “rosy cheeks” have not dissipated with the arrival of Spring, perhaps it is time to call our Lombard location to set up an evaluation with one of our providers. Educate yourself about this chronic condition by making yourself aware of some of the warning signs, courtesy of The National Rosacea Society:

Primary Signs of Rosacea

  • Flushing
    Many people with rosacea have a history of frequent blushing or flushing. This facial redness may come and go, and is often the earliest sign of the disorder.
  • Persistent Redness
    Persistent facial redness is the most common individual sign of rosacea, and may resemble a blush or sunburn that does not go away.
  • Bumps and Pimples
    Small red solid bumps or pus-filled pimples often develop. While these may resemble acne, blackheads are absent and burning or stinging may occur.
  • Visible Blood Vessels
    In many people with rosacea, small blood vessels become visible on the skin.”

Read more on Rosacea.org


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16/Jun/2019

If you suffer from psoriasis, we at Dermatology Associates of LaGrange may have a solution for you. We now offer Xtrac (trademark symbol) laser therapy at both our LaGrange and Lombard locations.

Here is more information about XTRAC courtesy of Health Line

xtrac laser therapyHighlights

  1. This therapy works by penetrating the skin and breaking up the cells that form plaques.
  2. With this therapy, it’s possible to have long remission periods in between outbreaks.
  3. Mild side effects are possible.

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved the XTRAC laser for psoriasis therapy in 2009. The XTRAC is a small handheld device that your dermatologist can use in the office.

This laser concentrates a single band of ultraviolet B (UVB) light on psoriasis lesions. It penetrates the skin and breaks the DNA of the T cells, which are what have multiplied to create psoriasis plaques. The 308-nm wavelength was found to be the most effective in clearing psoriasis lesions.

What are the benefits of XTRAC therapy?

  1. Each treatment takes only minutes.
  2. The surrounding skin isn’t affected.
  3. It may require fewer sessions than some other treatments.

XTRAC laser therapy is said to clear up mild to moderate plaques from psoriasis faster than natural sunlight or artificial UV light. It also requires fewer therapy sessions than some other treatments. This reduces the cumulative UV dose.

Because it’s a concentrated light source, the XTRAC laser can focus only on the plaque area. This means it doesn’t affect the surrounding skin. It’s also effective on areas that are hard to treat, such as the knees, elbows, and scalp.

Treatment time can vary depending on your skin type and the thickness and severity of your psoriasis lesions.

With this therapy, it’s possible to have long remission periods in between outbreaks.

What the research says

One 2002 study reported that 72 percent of participants experienced at least a 75 percent clearing of psoriasis plaques in an average of 6.2 treatments. About 50 percent of participants had at least 90 percent of their plaques clear after 10 or fewer treatments.

Although XTRAC therapy has been shown to be safe, more long-term studies are necessary to fully assess any short- or long-term effects.”


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16/Jun/2019

Run for Kelli and Team LaGrangeDermatology Associates of LaGrange has created a team for the run for Kelli September 18th 2016. The 3 mile walk will start at 9am and the 1 mile walk begins at 9:30am.

Cost of registration is 30.00 per person children under 8 do not need to be registered.

As an office we have a fundraising goal of 500 dollars.


We have set up a fundraiser page. To sign up please:Run for Kelli

  1. Visit kellijoyolaughlinmemorialfund.com
  2. Click on the purple run for Kelli Square on the side of the page
  3. Choose join team
  4. Search team name Dermatology associates of LaGrange and register for the run or walk
    (We are hoping to walk as an office in support of our many patients who are scholarship winners or friends of Kelli’s.)
  5. Follow check out prompts.

Can’t Run or walk? You can still help by sponsoring our team. Donations are tax deductible.

To donate:

  1. visit kellijoyolaughlinmemorialfund.com
  2. Choose The RUN for Kelli link.
  3. Go down to fundraiser teams and choose Dermatology Associates Of Lagrange
  4. Choose donate now and choose the team member you would like to sponsor and the amount you would like to donate.

Thank you for your support!


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16/Jun/2019

Once perceived as a disease primarily affecting middle-aged and older adults, melanoma is rising meteorically in the young.  A recent study of young people from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, NY, found that melanoma incidence in children, adolescents and young adults has shot up by more than 250 percent since 1973, with the steepest climb in those between ages 15 and 39.Melanoma common among young adults

“In our clinical practice, we had been seeing a lot of younger folks in their 20’s and 30’s with melanoma, and we wanted to bring about awareness of this issue,” said Nikhil Khushalani, MD, senior author of the study and section chief for soft tissue and melanoma at Roswell.

Read more at Sun & Skin News >>

 


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