Health Enewsletter August 2016

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"Doc, I have a growth. What should I do?"

Benign and Malignant Skin Growths
Melanoma in Adults and in Children.

What Should You Avoid?

Advocacy Corner: 2 Items on Your "To Do" List

Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates
8143 Walnut Grove Road
Cordova TN 38018

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Dr. George
Woodbury and Dr. Cathy Chapman
Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates
8143 Walnut Grove Road
Cordova, TN 38018
 (901) 753-0168

This child had developed a wart on the finger, which could be treated with cryotherapy, or freezing.

"Doc, I have a growth. What should I do?"

  New growths in the skin, or skin “neoplasms,” can be either benign, meaning favorable or “good”, or malignant, meaning serious or “bad.”Both words come from Latin origins. The job of your doctor is to distinguish between these two categories of benign and malignant, because different evaluations and treatments are required.
Malignant skin growths include basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer, and the most serious type of malignancy in the skin, which is melanoma. We now know that these are due to a combination of unfavorable genetics—i.e. high risk genes in a person’s DNA—and also ultraviolet light—from either the sun or from tanning salons.
The photo below - courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology and used by permission - shows a patient with a basal cell skin cancer on his forehead. This year, upwards of two million basal cell skin cancers will be treated in the United States - and unfortunately that number is growing year by year.


This patient to the left developed what was found after a test called a biopsy to be a squamous cell cancer.We encourage people with bleeding or enlarging lesions to get them checked right away. Early treatment means a smaller scar. Photo courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Emily Woodbury designed our practice's grassroots logo to illustrate
that people benefit most when patients and healthcare personnel work together in a team-wise approach. Everything comes together in a big circle.

Melanoma in Adults and in Children:
These photos illustrate that malignant lesions tend to be asymmetrical, tend to have jagged rather than smooth borders (i.e. like the coast of Maine), and tend to have various shades of color within themselves, in contrast to the uniform shade within a benign lesion. But at times one isolated darker mole can be the sign of a melanoma! 
Diameter is often enlarging, and malignant lesions are often evolving.
So remember your A,B,C,D, and E's!

These photos above - of benign and malignant moles - are courtesy of the Skin Cancer Foundation, and used by permission.

Melanoma however in children follows different rules. About 175,000 people will develop melanoma in the United States this year, of whom about 2,000 are below the age of 21. About 250-300 of these people are below the age of 12. The youngest patient with melanoma in my own practice was 10 years old. So melanoma DOES occur in children.

The rules in children for melanoma are:
a nodule that is often amelanotic (lack of pigment), with Bleeding or Bump development, with Color uniformity, with any diameter. So melanoma in kids can be tricky. It's wise to get the help of a medical professional in diagnosis, because melanoma in kids does not follow the same paths as in adults.
The photo below - used by permission of the American Academy of Dermatology - shows a characteristic malignant melanoma. When I first went into dermatology, in 1991, i.e. 25 years ago, we had about 2700 fatalities in the United States from melanoma each year. We hoped that that number would go down. Unfortunately, it went up, to 4700, then 6700, and in 2016, the number of fatalities from melanoma in the U.S. is expected to go above 10,000 for the first time. The blame? Spending too much time in the sun without ample amounts of high SPF sunscreen, plus use of tanning salons.

Fortunately, early detection saves lives, so get to know your moles, and watch for changes in color or shape, and get them checked regularly by a medical professional.

What Should You Avoid?
Ultraviolet light!

And of course .....

Note that this vine had a cluster of four leaves. The classic rule for poison ivy is "rules of three, leave them be." But by my book, any kind of a vine that has clusters of 3, 4, or 5 leaves is poison ivy, until proven otherwise. So when in doubt, "leave it be."
-Dr. Woodbury 08/10/2016

Advocacy Corner
  Two items are on your August "to do" list as a patient advocate, at the federal level:

1.) Please encourage your 2 federal senators to vote YES on the 21st Century Cures Act. The 21st Century Cures Act, also called H.R. 6, would boost funding for the National Institutes of Health by $1.75 billion annually and the Food and Drug Administration by $100 million, through budget offsets, to reform and expedite current standards for biomedical research. Please also encourage both of your federal senators to also become cosponsors of what’s called S. 2615, the Increasing Competition in Pharmaceuticals Act.
This would provide an expedited pathway for the FDA to review and approve generic drug applications for drugs where there is a drug shortage or where there is only one sole source on the market.
2.) Please encourage your federal representative to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 4784, the Lower Drug Costs Through Competition Act.  This would provide an expedited pathway for the FDA to review and approve generic drug applicationsPlease also ask your federal representative to become a member of the Skin Cancer Caucus .
If you would like to comment on these issues to your elected official:
To reach your elected officials: 1-888-434-6200. Then enter your zip code to get to your elected official's office.
TN Senators: Bob Corker+Lamar Alexander; Rep. Steve Cohen+Rep. Stephen Fincher.

Arkansas Senators: Tom Cotton+John Boozman. Rep.Rick Crawford

Mississippi Senators: Thad Cochran+Roger Wicker. Representative Trent Kelly.
George Woodbury Jr. M.D. 08/10/2016
Dr. Chapman had a left knee replacement surgery on 07/27/2016. Here she follows her physical therapist’s instructions for bicycle-based rehabilitation exercises at St. Francis Hospital. She is on schedule to return to work the week of August 8th-12th 2016. Please have patience as she tries to catch up!


For questions, comments, or if you would like to
be added to our email list, please email “”or call 1-901-753-0168.
George Woodbury Jr. M.D. (08/10/2016)


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Rheumatology & Dermatology Assoc, PC. · 8143 Walnut Grove Rd · Memphis, TN 38018 · USA