Early Skin Cancer Screening Minimizes Complications

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Melinda Sacks receives a skin cancer screening from Morgan Rabach, MD, Clinical Instructor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

When Melinda Sacks joined hundreds of other attendees at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, in Aspen, Colorado, to receive a complimentary skin cancer screening by dermatologists at the Mount Sinai Health System, the clinician told her she had a suspicious spot on her face that should be checked by a specialist as soon as she returned home to Stanford, California.

Ms. Sacks says she was surprised by this because “I thought it was a birth mark.” But the small pigmented spot with a clearly defined edge was a lentigo maligna—an early form of melanoma, in which the malignant cells are confined to the tissue of origin. By catching the disease at an early stage, Ms. Sacks was able to have it removed without further complications. Read more

Researchers Identify Key Protein in Melanoma Growth

A protein that promotes abnormal growth in melanoma cells has been identified for the first time by a team of researchers led by Emily Bernstein, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncological Sciences, and Dermatology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The novel discovery that the H2A.Z.2 protein is highly expressed in melanoma, appears to turn on the cell cycle, and makes melanoma cells grow faster, could also lead to therapeutic strategies that serve to inhibit cell proliferation. The results of Dr. Bernstein’s study were published in the July 2, 2015, issue of Molecular Cell. Read more

Mount Sinai Health System Offers Free Skin Cancer Screenings

The Mount Sinai Health System invited staff, their friends and families, and the public, to learn about skin cancer prevention and receive a free, total-body skin examination during National Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May. The screenings took place in the dermatology departments of The Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai Roosevelt, and, for the first time, at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s. At The Mount Sinai Hospital, 97 people were examined; 81 at Mount Sinai Beth Israel; 77 at Mount Sinai Roosevelt; and 22 at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s.

Melanoma, the deadliest and most preventable skin disease

markowitzMelanoma is the deadliest and most preventable skin disease. It is a skin cancer arising from melanocytes, skin cells that carry pigment also know as melanin, which gives skin its color. Melanocytes are the cells that also form benign (non-cancerous) moles known as nevi. The distinction between harmless moles and potentially deadly melanoma can be challenging even for the most experienced dermatologists.

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Dermatology throughout your lifetime

Our skin goes through many changes as we age. Each stage is marked with some specific findings that are more or less common, but it is normal to ask: “What is happening to my (or my child’s) skin and hair?”

Infants: Seborrheic dermatitis, or “cradle cap,” is very common in infants. While the condition will generally pass with use of gentle cleansers, in severe cases a prescription medication may be necessary. It is also important not to confuse run-of-the mill cradle cap with a true fungal infection.

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Melanoma in African Americans

Although skin cancer has a lower incidence in patients of color, it can occur. The most common type of skin cancer varies based on your ethnic background, with African Americans being most at risk for squamous cell carcinoma. However while melanoma is often associated with people who have blue eyes and blonde hair, it also occurs in people with darker skin tones.

For reasons that are unclear, melanomas in African Americans most commonly develop on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and nails. Unfortunately, when these melanomas are discovered they are more aggressive at the time of presentation. The overall five-year melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 77 percent, versus 91 percent for Caucasians. Read more

Department of Radiation Oncology Now Offering Superficial Radiotherapy

The Mount Sinai Department of Radiation Oncology is now treating patients with superficial non-melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas, and keloids, with a non-invasive and painless procedure, Superficial Radiotherapy. The procedure utilizes superficial x-rays that concentrate radiation dose on the skin surface. There are several advantages of using superficial radiation therapy to treat non-melanoma skin cancers and keloids, including:

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