Frequent Asked Questions

What is dermatology?
Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin and its diseases, a unique specialty with both medical and surgical aspects. A dermatologist takes care of diseases, in the widest sense, and some cosmetic problems of the skin, scalp, hair, and nails.

Do you require a referral?
In most cases we don’t require you to have a referral to our office. Please contact your insurance to see if your policy requires you to have one.

What is squamous cell carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the thin, flat squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is usually not life-threatening, though it can be aggressive in some cases. Untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications. Most squamous cell carcinomas result from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from sunlight or from tanning beds or lamps. Avoiding UV light helps reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma and other forms of skin cancer.t is squamous cell carcinoma?

What is basal cell carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma begins in the basal cells — a type of cell within the skin that produces new skin cells as old ones die off. Basal cell carcinoma often appears as a waxy bump, though it can take other forms. Basal cell carcinoma occurs most often on areas of the skin that are often exposed to the sun, such as your face and neck. Most basal cell carcinomas are thought to be caused by long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. Avoiding the sun and using sunscreen may help protect against basal cell carcinoma.

What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a potentially dangerous type of skin cancer. It is diagnosed less frequently than other types of skin cancer (nonmelanoma skin cancer), but has the ability to spread very quickly. Melanoma most often begins on the skin but can develop on the other parts of the body, such as under fingernails, toenails and the eyeball.

What are symptoms of Melanoma?
Change in an existing mole is usually the first experienced symptom in people with melanoma. A new suspicious skin mole is also something that should raise red flags. Learning the difference between a normal mole and an abnormal mole can help with self-skin exams at home. The ABCDs of melanoma can help you to discern between what is normal and what may need further evaluation by a dermatologist.

The ABCDE rule guidelines instruct you to look for these characteristics in moles:

Asymmetry: Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical. If you were to draw a line through a normal spot, you would have two symmetrical halves. In cases of skin cancer, spots will not look the same on both sides.

Border: A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges.

Color: A mole that is more than one hue, color or shade is suspicious and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Normal spots are usually one color. This can include lightening or darkening of the mole.

Diameter: If the mole is larger than a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch or 6mm), it needs to be examined by a doctor. This includes areas that do not have any other abnormalities (color, border, and asymmetry).

What is Mohs micrographic surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery is the most effective and advanced treatment for skin cancer today. It offers the highest potential for cure – even if the skin cancer has been previously treated by another method. Mohs micrographic surgery involves removing a skin cancer one layer at a time and examining these layers under a microscope immediately after they are removed. This procedure allows for a close examination of each layer of skin to detect cancer cells. It also allows a minimal amount of tissue to be removed while ensuring complete removal of all the cancer cells. A local anesthetic is injected into the skin before the surgery. The doctor then begins to remove the skin cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue, one layer of skin at a time. Each tissue layer is prepared and examined under the microscope for cancer cells. Surgery is complete when no more cancer cells are detected.

What is Blu Light therapy and levulan kerostick?
The Levulan Kerastick for Topical Solution plus blue light illumination using the BLU-U Blue LightPhotodynamic Therapy Illuminator is indicated for the treatment of minimally to moderately thick actinic keratoses of the face or scalp. Actinic keratoses (AKs) are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that can lead to skin cancer. It is important to treat AKs because there is no way to tell when or which lesions will progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer.

What is UVB Therapy?
Present in natural sunlight, UVB is an effective treatment for psoriasis. UVB penetrates the skin and slows the growth of affected skin cells. Treatment involves exposing the skin to an artificial UVB light source for a set length of time on a regular schedule. This treatment is administered in a medical setting or at home.