CANCER: Knowing Your ABCDEs Can Help You Catch Melanoma Early
Checking your skin from head to toe each month can help you spot changes that could be symptoms of skin cancer. When looking for signs of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, it helps to know your ABCDEs. Here’s what you should check for:
- Asymmetrical shape: Check for moles where the shape or appearance of one half doesn’t match the other.
- Border irregularity: The borders of non-cancerous moles are usually smooth and even. Moles affected by melanoma have irregular borders that are ragged, notched or uneven.
- Color: Non-cancerous moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan. Check for moles that contain more than one color or have an uneven distribution of color within the mole. Melanomas can also be red, blue or white.
- Diameter: In melanoma, moles are usually one-quarter inch or larger in diameter. That’s about the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolution: Be on the lookout for changes in the size, shape or color of any moles. Other signs to watch for include moles that bleed, itch, become tender, or crust over.
Most skin cancer deaths are from melanoma. If you discover any of the changes listed above, see a dermatologist right away. When detected early, malignant melanoma is highly treatable. To lower your risk of all types of skin cancer, use sunscreen yearround, wear a wide-brimmed hat, limit exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., don’t use tanning beds or sun lamps, and protect your eyes with sunglasses.
Call 877-715-HOPE (4673) for more information or assistance with making an appointment.
HEART: Clinical Trial Gives More Patients Access to Minimally Invasive Valve Replacement
Usually, when you need aortic valve replacement due to aortic stenosis, you undergo open-heart surgery. But, for people who are too ill or weak for openheart surgery, a minimally invasive procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has been available for several years. In TAVR, a very small catheter is inserted into the femoral artery. The physician then positions the new heart valve, which is mounted on a stent, into the location of the damaged valve. Once the stent that contains the new heart valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve out of the way and the new one starts working immediately, restoring normal blood flow to the body.
Now, through a clinical trial at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, lower-risk, healthier patients have an opportunity to undergo TAVR. MedStar Union Memorial is one of a select few hospitals in the Baltimore metropolitan region participating in this trial, which is being conducted at 80 centers around the world. “There are many benefits to TAVR, including a much quicker recovery and no need for major open-heart surgery,” explains John Chung-Yee Wang, MD, chief of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at MedStar Union Memorial and scientific director for MedStar Baltimore Cardiovascular Research. “For this trial, there is no upper or lower age limit to participate.”
To see if you may be a candidate for the trial, contact Judith Raqueno, at 443-278-9170, ext. 1. Learn more about the clinical trials conducted by the MedStar Cardiovascular Research Network (MCRN).
ORTHOPAEDICS: You Don’t Have to Be an Athlete to Benefit From Sports Medicine
Just because you’ve never run a marathon or scored a touchdown doesn’t mean you don’t need a sports medicine specialist. If you’ve got a problem with your muscles, ligaments, joints, or tendons, a physician who’s fellowship-trained in sports medicine can evaluate your condition, diagnose your problem and provide treatment, from physical therapy and medications to surgical repairs.
Sports medicine physicians treat patients of all ages and activity levels and can provide care for a wide range of problems, including injuries and pain in your:
- Hand and wrist
“We treat people of all ages, from those who’ve been injured while participating in a sport to those who are experiencing pain caused by wear and tear,” explains Derek Papp, MD, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and director of Sports Medicine at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. “Our interdisciplinary team of sports medicine specialists includes experienced physicians, nurses and physical and occupational therapists. Sports medicine fellowship training gave me invaluable experience that I use every day to help my patients. We offer the latest treatment options, including minimally invasive surgical treatment, so our patients can get back to doing what they love.”
To make an appointment, please call 877-34-ORTHO (877-346-7846).
This article appeared in the summer 2016 issue of Good Health. Read more articles from this issue.