How to Recognize Melanoma Warning Signs
by Dr. Corinne Howington
With beach season upon us, our coastal locals start taking time to soak up the sun, but these long, light-filled days often mean overexposure to the day’s dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays.
With more than three million cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually, beachgoers need to be more mindful than ever as more than 95 percent of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure. Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing skin cancer by almost 50 percent.
Designated by the American Academy of Dermatology, National Melanoma Skin Cancer Awareness Monthis set for the month of May to try to raise awareness about skin cancer and increase the chances of early detection.
Here at home, we must be committed to raising awareness and encouraging action to prevent melanoma.
The American Cancer Societyreports that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. About 9,320 people are expected to die from this disease in 2018. The good news is that skin cancer is not only preventable but is the most curable form of cancer.
Our goal for the month of May is to bring attention to skin disease and to get people to talk about an uncomfortable topic.
Education is the key to fighting this form of cancer. If the disease is caught early and treated, the cure rate is extremely high.
Be aware of any spots on your skin that are different from the others or anything that’s changing, itching or bleeding. When checking your skin, you should look for the ABCDE’s of melanoma:
One half of your dark spot is unlike the other half.
An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border is around your dark spot.
The hue is varied from one area to another; your dark spot has shades of tan, brown or black or is sometimes white, red or blue.
Melanoma spots are usually greater than the size of a pencil eraser when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
A mole or dark spot that looks unusual or is changing in size, shape or color.
As a note, not all melanomas will look like moles but may appear to be a bruise or spot that doesn’t heal.
Early detection remains the best way to fight melanoma. Patients whose melanoma is treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes or other organs have a five-year survival rate of 99 percent. This drops to 63 percent when the disease spreads to the lymph nodes and other nearby organs and 20 percent when it spreads to distant organs according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
It is recommended that everyone perform regular skin self-exams. Prevention is the best form of medicine. So this May, add a healthy dose of sunscreen to your skin.
Dr. Corinne Howington, of Low Country Dermatology, is a board certified dermatologist, with expertise in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. For more information, call (912) 354-1018or visit www.lcderm.com.
Free Oral Cancer Screenings in April
(SAVANNAH, GA) In recognition of April being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Angela Canfield of Sandfly Family Dental in Savannah and Premier Dental Designs in Rincon will offer free oral cancer screenings throughout the month at both of her offices. These exams normally cost up to $80.
Every 60 minutes, a person dies from oral cancer. The disease is typically associated with long-term tobacco use, but it is becoming more frequent in young adults who have never smoked. According to the National Cancer Institute, 40 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancers will die within five years. While the disease has few, if any, early symptoms, early detection can make a dramatic difference, increasing survival rates to as much as 90 percent.
“I recommend anyone 18 and older to be tested annually for oral cancer,” Canfield said. “Results can vary from negative to being ‘high risk’ or positive. For patients who test positive for precancerous cells, I usually suggest a follow-up visit with an ear nose and throat specialist, depending on the levels found.”
The oral cancer screening is noninvasive and takes less than 10 minutes. By using a VELscope to shine a visible blue light in the mouth, Canfield’s staff will be able to detect suspicious tissue that is abnormal.
While the screenings will be free, an appointment is necessary.
For more information, please contact Premier Dental Designs by calling (912) 826-4037 or visiting http://www.premierdentaldesigns.com/. For Savannah residents, please call (912) 349-0472 or visit http://www.sandflyfamilydental.com/
ABOUT PREMIER DENTAL DESIGNS AND SANDFLY FAMILY DENTAL
Dr. Angela Canfield is licensed by the Georgia Board of Dentistry and the National Board of Dentists. She owns and practices at Premier Dental Designs in Rincon, 5871 Hwy 21 South, and Sandfly Family Dental in the Norwood Market in Savannah. Both offices provide Family/Preventative Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, Orthodontic Dentistry, Digital X-Rays, E4D One Day Crowns, Electronic Claims, Intra Oral Camera and Paperless Charting. The offices are open Monday through Friday and offer evening appointments. For more information, call 912.826.4037 or visit http://www.premierdentaldesigns.com/ or http://www.sandflyfamilydental.com/
Savannah Plastic Surgeon Dr. Daniel Most to Open Pooler Office
Savannah Plastic Surgeon Dr. Daniel Most to Cut Ribbon on New Pooler Location November 29
(SAVANNAH, GA) Dr. Daniel Most, a Savannah-based plastic surgeon, announces plans to cut the ribbon on the Most Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery office in Pooler. This Pooler location will allow Dr. Most to see patients in the West Chatham area on Wednesdays of every week.
The public is invited to join Dr. Most and his staff for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. This event will also celebrate Dr. Most’s fifth anniversary of private practice in the greater Savannah area.
Dr. Most, who specializes in a variety of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures, is dually trained in both hand and microsurgery. He has practiced since 2005 and has operated Most Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, PC, in the Savannah Medical Center since 2012.
Dr. Most received his doctor of medicine degree from Stanford University in California, then completed a combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and completed a hand and microsurgery fellowship at Harvard University in Boston.
“We are very pleased to be able to expand our services to serve patients in west Chatham County and surrounding areas,” said Dr. Most. “This is especially important for breast cancer and other surgical patients to have convenient access to their physician for post-operative care.”
Dr. Most is known for leading-edge breast reconstruction techniques, the surgical procedure that restores shape to the breast after a mastectomy, the surgery that removes breast tissue to treat or prevent breast cancer. During the month of October, Dr. Most participated as one of the 2017 BigWigs for the Susan G. Komen Society of the Coastal Empire.
Dr. Most is also a leading physician in the area of hand surgery and is the only Savannah surgeon who will work with the brachial plexus nerves in the neck region of the spinal cord. Dr. Most also treats peripheral nerve injuries, tumors and other disorders affecting the network of nerves that link the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body.
As a published researcher, Dr. Most’s writing has appeared in more than 30 publications in scientific journals and surgical textbooks, and he has presented his research nationally and internationally in lectures and community presentations. He is also a teacher in the field of plastic surgery and has received numerous honors and awards.
ABOUT DR. DANIEL MOST
Dr. Daniel Most, MD, has practiced plastic surgery since 2005, operating a private practice, Most Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, P.C., at 5205 Frederick Street, Suite A, in Savannah, Ga., since 2012. He opened a second location at 114 Canal Street, Suite 102, in Pooler, Ga., in 2017. Dr. Most graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a B.S. in biology, obtained his doctor of medicine degree from Stanford University in California, then completed a combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and completed a hand and microsurgery fellowship at Harvard University in Boston. He is a clinical associate professor of surgery at Mercer University School of Medicine, Savannah campus. He is on staff at Memorial Health University Medical Center, the St. Joseph/Candler Health System and Liberty Regional Medical Center and is a participating provider for most insurance policies. He is fluent in Spanish and has performed charity surgery work in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. For more information, contact Dr. Most at 912-303-6678 or visit online at www.mostplasticsurgery.com.
(SAVANNAH, GA) Dr. Corinne Howington of Low Country Dermatology presented $500 to the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center. This donation was made possible by proceeds raised during the inaugural skin cancer awareness excursion, “Melanoma, Take a Hike!”
The event took place through the scenic trails of Skidaway Island State Park during the high afternoon sun in recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month which is designated by the American Academy of Dermatology to raise awareness about the risk of skin cancer and increase the chances of early detection. Along the way, Dr. Howington and her staff shared prevention techniques for melanoma and answered questions from participants.
“With events like Melanoma, Take a Hike!, we hope not only to prevent skin cancer by teaching people how to protect themselves from harmful UV rays,” said Dr. Howington, “but also to support those organizations, like the Anderson Cancer Institute, who are fighting cancer’s devastating effects every day.”
The Anderson Cancer Institute provides cancer screening, diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, support services and long-term follow-up for cancer patients. Their disease management teams specialize in breast, colorectal, urology, melanoma, thoracic, head and neck, upper gastrointestinal, and gynecologic cancers.
Dr. Howington is a board-certified dermatologist with expertise in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. She and her staff also distributed SPF 30 sunscreen, which has been shown to prevent the onset of some types of skin cancer by 80 percent.
ABOUT LOW COUNTRY DERMATOLOGY
Low Country Dermatology specializes in the treatment of adult and pediatric diseases of the skin, hair and nails. Dr. Corinne Howington is a board certified dermatologist with expertise in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Low Country Dermatology is located at 310 Eisenhower Dr. Suite 12A Savannah, GA 31406. For more information, visit lcderm.com.
Is your skin taking a beating from stress?
by Courtney Zechman
How do you react to stress? Do you break out more, or does your rosacea flare up? Your emotions can affect your whole body and can have a powerful impact on your skin.
If your acne gets worse when you feel nervous, that’s because your body releases stress hormones, including cortisol, which tells your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin problems. Stress can also worsen problems such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema or trigger hives and other skin rashes.
Plus, skin problems themselves can be stressful. Some people are so embarrassed by their skin that they keep to themselves, which adds more stress and only worsens the problem.
Your body expresses emotions through many nerve endings connected to the skin just as it does through other organs, causing gastrointestinal symptoms, increased anxiety or hypertension. In fact, many skin disorders take their roots from — or place their roots in — the psyche.
The relationship between the emotions and the skin has inspired a new field of study called “psychodermatology,” which examines those connections more closely than ever before. The new field evolved after scientists and medical experts determined that dermatology should have a more integrated approach with other fields such as psychology.
This thinking has widened the scope of treatment possibilities that now may include antidepressants, relaxation therapy or counseling to alleviate mood problems that might result from or cause skin problems.
You can’t avoid stress, but you can try to reduce its effects on your body, as well as battle its symptoms on the skin. That includes developing a good skin care regimen, which should incorporate beneficial skin-care products as well as these essentials:
• Get enough sleep. Getting less than eight hours can cause fluid to pool below your lower eyelid area, causing puffiness. Make sure you shut off electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep and use the downtime to get calm and relaxed before bed.
• Drink water. You’ll look dewy and fresh-faced if you drink eight glasses or more each day. Also consider drinking green tea for healthy antioxidants and eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as cucumbers, tomatoes and celery.
• Practice deep breathing. This can help calm anxiety, which can cause skin issues to flare up. Breathing exercises can also help minimize the chances of getting a rash or hives when you are stressed. These exercises can also help with flushing and redness, which can happen when you breathe in short, shallow breaths, as is often the case during stressful situations.
Stress happens to everyone, and since you can’t avoid your job, bills or life, the best thing to do is to learn to manage it. Remember to take care of your skin even if you’re tired or stressed. Get enough sleep, along with some exercise. Both are important for your skin as well as the rest of your body. Take a few minutes to do something you enjoy, like reading or a long bath.
You also might want to consider a number of stress management techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and visual imagery.
Once you realize how your inner turmoil shows itself, you will be better equipped to use home and professional therapies to counter its not-so-pretty effects.
Courtney Zechman is the licensed esthetician at Low Country Dermatology, specializing in facials, SilkPeel Dermalinfusion, chemical peels, waxing, Dermaplaning, laser hair removal, and laser facial treatments. She can be reached at (912) 354-1018.
10 Things You Should Know about Peripheral Artery Disease
By Dr. Lee Yates
If you are suffering from leg pain, burning or aching in your calves or a wound in your foot or leg that won’t heal, you may have peripheral artery disease. Also known as PAD, this condition that affects 8-12 million Americans can cause leg tiredness, cramping and pain when walking. PAD also raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, leg amputation and death.
Since September is PAD Awareness month, it is a great time to explore this topic. If you suspect you or a loved one may have PAD, consider these frequently asked questions about the disease:
1. What is PAD?
This is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. When you develop PAD, your extremities — usually your legs — don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking. PAD is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs.
2. What is the most common symptom of PAD?
The first symptom that most people notice is muscle pain. Depending on where the artery blockage is, the pain may affect different muscles in the calf, thigh, buttock, hip and/or foot.
3. Are there other signs and symptoms of PAD?
Some people experience numbness, achiness, or heaviness in the leg muscles when walking or climbing stairs. Other symptoms may include sores or wounds on the toes, feet or legs that heal poorly or not at all; coldness in the lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side; no pulse or a weak pulse in the legs or feet; skin on the legs that is shiny, pale or bluish; poor toenail growth; decreased hair growth on the legs and, in men, erectile dysfunction, especially among those who have diabetes.
4. What are the factors that might increase the risk of developing PAD?
People who smoke or have diabetes have the greatest risk of developing PAD due to reduced blood flow. Other risk factors include obesity; high blood pressure (140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher); high cholesterol (total blood cholesterol over 240 milligrams per deciliter, or 6.2 millimoles per liter); increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age; a family history of PAD, heart disease or stroke; and high levels of homocysteine.
5. Aren’t leg pain and numbness often a normal part of aging?
Don’t dismiss any symptom as a normal part of aging. PAD can be caught early by recognizing risk factors using readily available screening tools.
6. How is PAD managed?
Sometimes, surgery is necessary to minimize the risk for heart attack or stroke. Common management methods include medications that lower cholesterol or prevent blood clots; diabetes management; lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking; exercise programs; and regular follow-up care.
7. My symptoms don’t seem that bad. Why should I worry about it?
If you have undiagnosed PAD and systems continue to worsen, blocked blood flow can cause gangrene (tissue death), and in very serious cases, this can lead to leg amputation. PAD also increases your risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
8. Is PAD curable?
Although PAD is serious, it’s treatable. If you have the disease, see your doctor regularly so he or she can treat the underlying atherosclerosis to slow or stop disease progress and reduce the risk of complications. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery or procedures. Researchers continue to explore new therapies for PAD.
9. What happens during the PAD screening?
The PAD screening is a quick, easy and non-invasive procedure called the ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. It is done by measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest.
10. Can PAD cause other health problems?
PAD may be the first warning sign of atherosclerosis – chronic fatty deposit build-ups – throughout your arteries. The whole circulatory system, including your heart and brain, are at risk when arteries are blocked and narrowed. Fatty deposits also increase the risk for vascular inflammation and blood clots that can block the blood supply and cause tissue death.
Although peripheral artery disease is potentially a life-threatening condition affecting one out of every 20 Americans over the age of 50, the good news is PAD can be managed or even reversed with proper care.
A member of the Georgia Vascular Society and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Lee Yates is the Medical Director of Vascular Surgery at St. Joseph’s Candler Health System
(SAVANNAH, GA) In recognition of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month, for the second year in a row, the Savannah Surgery Center is offering two free screening days for those who may be at risk for the disease. The screenings will take place at the Savannah Surgery Center, located at 5105 Paulsen St. Suite C-140, on Wednesday, September 23 and Wednesday, September 30 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The symptoms of PAD include leg pain, burning or aching in the calves or a wound in the foot or leg that won’t heal. This condition affects 8-12 million Americans and can cause leg tiredness, cramping and pain when walking. PAD also raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, leg amputation and death.
People who smoke or have diabetes have the greatest risk of developing PAD due to reduced blood flow. Other risk factors include obesity; high blood pressure (140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher); high cholesterol (total blood cholesterol over 240 milligrams per deciliter, or 6.2 millimoles per liter); increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age; a family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke; and high levels of homocysteine.
Dr. Lee Yates, founder of Savannah Surgery Center commented that, “Peripheral arterial disease or PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. When someone develops the disease, the extremities, usually the legs, don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. The PAD screening is a quick, easy and non-invasive procedure called the ankle-brachial index (ABI) test.” The ABI test measures blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest.
Although PAD is serious, it’s treatable. Common management methods include medications that lower cholesterol or prevent blood clots; diabetes management; lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking; exercise programs and regular follow-up care. Surgery also may be necessary to minimize the risk for heart attack or stroke.
Reservations are strongly suggested but not required. To find out more information on the screenings, contact Lynn Anderson at 912.354.8331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE SAVANNAH SURGERY CENTER
A member of the Georgia Vascular Society and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Lee Yates founded Savannah Surgery Center. The practice specializes in Vascular Surgery and is affiliated with St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital where Dr. Yates is the Medical Director of Vascular Surgery. Dr. Yates and his partner, Dr. Chris Busken have office hours Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 5102 Paulsen St Bldg 2, Savannah, GA. For more information, please call the center at 354-8331.