ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: The incidence of malignant melanoma has increased in recent years more than that of any other cancer in the United States. About one in 70 people will develop melanoma during their lifetime. Family physicians should be aware that a patient with a changing mole, an atypical mole or multiple nevi is at considerable risk for developing melanoma. Any mole that is suggestive of melanoma requires an excisional biopsy, primarily because prognosis and treatment are based on tumor thickness. Staging is based on tumor thickness (Breslow's measurement) and histologic level of invasion (Clark level). The current recommendations for excisional removal of confirmed melanomas include 1-cm margins for lesions measuring 1.0 mm or less in thickness and 2-cm margins for lesions from 1.0 mm to 4.0 mm in thickness or Clark's level IV of any thickness. No evidence currently shows that wider margins improve survival in patients with lesions more than 4.0 mm thick. Clinically positive nodes are typically managed by completely removing lymph nodes in the area. Elective lymph node dissection is recommended only for patients who are younger than 60 years with lesions between 1.5 mm and 4.0 mm in thickness. In the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Trial, interferon alfa-2b was shown to improve disease-free and overall survival, but in many other trials it has not been shown to be effective at prolonging overall survival. Vaccine therapy is currently being used to stimulate the immune system of melanoma patients with metastatic disease.
Common Benign Skin Tumors - Article
ABSTRACT: Benign skin tumors are commonly seen by family physicians. The ability to properly diagnose and treat common benign tumors and to distinguish them from malignant lesions is a vital skill for all family physicians. Any lesions for which the diagnosis is uncertain, based on the history and gross examination, should be biopsied for histopathologic examination to rule out malignancy. Lipomas are technically subcutaneous soft tissue tumors, not skin tumors, and controversy exists about whether keratoacanthomas have malignant potential; however, both are discussed in this article because they are common tumors evaluated by family physicians. Diagnosis usually is based on the appearance of the lesion and the patient's clinical history, although biopsy is sometimes required. Treatment includes excision, cryotherapy, curettage with or without electrodesiccation, and pharmacotherapy, and is based on the type of tumor and its location. Generally, excision is the treatment of choice for lipomas, dermatofibromas, keratoacanthomas, pyogenic granulomas, and epidermoid cysts. Cherry angiomas and sebaceous hyperplasia are often treated with laser therapy and electrodesiccation. Common treatments for acrochordons and seborrheic keratoses are cryotherapy and shave excision. Referral is indicated if the family physician is not confident with the diagnostic evaluation or treatment of a lesion, or if a biopsy reveals melanoma.
ABSTRACT: Rates of squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas have been increasing, possibly as a result of increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Primary care physicians can expect to diagnose six to seven cases of basal cell carcinoma and one to two cases of squamous cell carcinoma each year. Basal cell carcinomas may be plaque-like or nodular with a waxy, translucent appearance, often with ulceration and telangiectasia. They rarely metastasize and are treated with excision, cryotherapy, electrodesiccation and cautery, imiquimod, 5-fluorouracil, or photodynamic therapy (the latter is not approved for this purpose by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration), although surgery results in the fewest recurrences. Actinic keratoses are scaly keratotic patches that often are more easily felt than seen. They are amenable to any of the destructive techniques described above, with the exception of photodynamic therapy. Squamous cell carcinomas arise from keratotic patches and become more nodular and erythematous with growth, sometimes including keratin plugs, horns, or ulceration. Because they may metastasize, they often are treated with excisional biopsy.
Health Issues for Surfers - Article
ABSTRACT: Surfers are prone to acute injuries as well as conditions resulting from chronic environmental exposure. Sprains, lacerations, strains, and fractures are the most common types of trauma. Injury from the rider's own surfboard may be the prevailing mechanism. Minor wound infections can be treated on an outpatient basis with ciprofloxacin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Jellyfish stings are common and may be treated with heat application. Other treatment regimens have had mixed results. Seabather's eruption is a pruritic skin reaction caused by exposure to nematocyst-containing coelenterate larvae. Additional surfing hazards include stingrays, coral reefs, and, occasionally, sharks. Otologic sequelae of surfing include auditory exostoses, tympanic membrane rupture, and otitis externa. Sun exposure and skin cancer risk are inherent dangers of this sport.
ABSTRACT: Melanoma is an increasingly common malignancy, and it affects a younger population than most cancers. Risk factors for melanoma include white race, sun sensitivity, family history of melanoma, and melanocytic nevi. Sunburn and intermittent sun exposure appear to increase the risk of developing melanoma. The role of population-based screening for skin cancer remains unclear. Consistent screening results in the diagnosis of thinner melanomas, but there is no evidence that this leads to decreased mortality. The ABCDs--asymmetry, border, color, diameter--can be used as a guide to differentiate melanoma from benign lesions. Suspicious pigmented lesions should undergo full thickness biopsy. Treatment consists of surgical resection, lymph node evaluation, and systemic therapy for some patients. Prognosis depends on the stage at diagnosis. Patients with melanoma require dose follow-up because they are at risk for recurrence and diagnosis of a second primary tumor. Preventive strategies for melanoma should emphasize seeking shade when outdoors, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding exposure during the peak sunlight hours.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery - Article
ABSTRACT: Mohs micrographic surgery is an approach to skin cancer removal that aims to achieve the highest possible rates of cure and to minimize the size of the wound and consequent distortions at critical sites such as the eyes, ears, nose, and lips. Mohs micrographic surgery is a two-step, same-day procedure performed with local anesthetic. It involves removing the tumor in stages by histologically confirming clear margins on frozen sections and by addressing the resultant defect. Options for healing include second intent, primary closure, local flaps, interpolation flaps, and grafts. Larger tumors may require referral for reconstructive surgery. Mohs micrographic surgery is the treatment of choice for skin tumors in critical sites, large or recurrent tumors, tumors in sites of radiation therapy, and tumors with aggressive histologic features.
Newborn Skin: Part II. Birthmarks - Article
ABSTRACT: Birthmarks in newborns are common sources of parental concern. Although most treatment recommendations are based on expert opinion, limited evidence exists to guide management of these conditions. Large congenital melanocytic nevi require evaluation for removal, whereas smaller nevi may be observed for malignant changes. With few exceptions, benign birthmarks (e.g., dermal melanosis, hemangioma of infancy, port-wine stain, nevus simplex) do not require treatment; however, effective cosmetic laser treatments exist. Supernumerary nipples are common and benign; they are occasionally mistaken for congenital melanocytic nevi. High- and intermediate-risk skin markers of spinal dysraphism (e.g., dermal sinuses, tails, atypical dimples, multiple lesions of any type) require evaluation with magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasonography. Family physicians should be familiar with various birthmarks and comfortable discussing disease prevention and cosmetic strategies.
Acute and Chronic Paronychia - Article
ABSTRACT: Paronychia is an inflammation of the folds of tissue surrounding the nail of a toe or finger. Paronychia may be classified as either acute or chronic. The main factor associated with the development of acute paronychia is direct or indirect trauma to the cuticle or nail fold. This enables pathogens to inoculate the nail, resulting in infection. Treatment options for acute paronychia include warm compresses; topical antibiotics, with or without corticosteroids; oral antibiotics; or surgical incision and drainage for more severe cases. Chronic paronychia is a multifactorial inflammatory reaction of the proximal nail fold to irritants and allergens. The patient should avoid exposure to contact irritants; treatment of underlying inflammation and infection is recommended, using a combination of a broad-spectrum topical antifungal agent and a corticosteroid. Application of emollient lotions may be beneficial. Topical steroid creams are more effective than systemic antifungals in the treatment of chronic paronychia. In recalcitrant chronic paronychia, en bloc excision of the proximal nail fold is an option. Alternatively, an eponychial marsupialization, with or without nail removal, may be performed.
Atypical Moles - Article
ABSTRACT: Atypical moles can be distinguished visually by clinical features of size greater than 6 mm in diameter, color variegation, indistinct borders, and textured surface. All patients who have atypical moles should be counselled about sun avoidance, screening of family members, and regular skin checks at least once per year. Total body photography and dermoscopy can aid in regular skin monitoring for changes in atypical moles and the emergence of new lesions. The presence of multiple atypical moles increases the risk of melanoma. The greatest risk of melanoma is in patients who have more than 50 atypical moles and two or more family members with melanoma (familial atypical mole and melanoma syndrome). Atypical moles should be removed when they have features suggestive of malignant transformation. Elliptical excision is the preferred removal technique. Removing all atypical moles is neither necessary nor cost effective.