When Should a Primary Care Doc Refer to a Dermatologist?

The answer to the question depends on the extent of training in dermatology and the individual physician’s comfort level in dealing with skin diseases.  Currently, the definition of “primary care providers” includes family practitioners, internists, pediatricians, and gynecologists, but may be expanded to include nurse practitioners.  The education of U.S. medical …

What Are Dysplastic Moles? Opinion and Advice

To better understand the concept of “dysplastic moles,” we must agree on definitions of terms.  Dysplastic from dysplasia  means abnormal development of  tissue.  A mole in this context usually refers to a growth in skin that may be pigmented, flesh-colored, flat or raised, hairy or non-hairy. A mole, also called a nevus, usually consists of …

Two New Drugs for Metastatic Malignant Melanoma

Metastatic malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.  Now, for the first time in 13 years, the FDA has approved not one, but two, medicines for metastatic or unresectable malignant melanoma. Vemurafenib (brand name Zelboraf) is unique among chemotherapeutic agents in two ways: it is a pill taken by …