Rash in a Patient with HIV Infection

A 50-year-old man presented  for the diagnosis and treatment of a rash on his legs and back for about 1 and 1/2 years. His past medical history was significant for HIV infection which had been treated with Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). He stated that his viral counts were undetectable and …

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 …

My Dermatologist Says I Have Actinic Keratosis: What Is That?

Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis, are commonly referred to as pre-cancerous skin growths.  In fact, they are the most common pre-cancerous growth of humans.   Actinic keratoses (plural) are most commonly found on sun exposed areas, namely, the face, lips, bald scalp, and backs of hands and arms. …

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 …